Five Foods That Are Good For Your Teeth
Teeth need care. When we think about good oral hygiene, our daily routines in front of the mirror comes to mind – the brushing, the flossing, the washes and rinses, the tongue cleaning, etc.
Holistic oral health goes beyond our bathroom routines and into the kitchen. What we eat plays a huge role as well. Every time we put something in our mouths, the digestion process is triggered and our oral chemistry responds and changes.
So what kinds of foods are actually beneficial for our teeth? In general, look for snacks that are low in acids and sugars, high in water and nutrients (specifically protein, calcium and phosphorus), and firm or crunchy textures that require chewing. Some choices are intuitive and some are surprising. Here are Tru Family Dental’s top picks for teeth-friendly foods.
Fromage-ophiles, rejoice! Nibble on an extra slice of cheese at the end of a meal knowing it’s good for your teeth. Dairy in general helps out the chemistry in the mouth by neutralizing acids that are products of plaque and bacteria. An added bonus is the calcium, which redeposits minerals back into lesions in enamel caused by acidic food. Milk and plain yogurt have a similar effect, but cheese has the added perk of a firm texture that requires chewing and therefore extra salivation, which teeth love.
Smile if you love strawberries. This one is a bit counterintuitive. How can a sweet, juicy berry that tends to stain clothing be good for teeth? Aside from the richness in antioxidants and vitamin C, strawberries contain malic acid, which can naturally whiten teeth. Some people swear by their at-home whitening treatment of baking soda mixed with strawberry pulp. Just watch out for the little seeds (which are good reminders to floss!)
Leafy greens (and oranges)
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale make their way onto all kinds of healthy eating lists – and for good reason. They’re low in calories while packed with micronutrients. For oral health, greens are high in enamel-building calcium. They also contain a strong dose of vitamin C without the acid of most citrus fruits. But don’t shy away from oranges! Oranges are the least acidic of the citrus fruits, and store-bought orange juice is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Apples and carrots
Here’s another pleasantly sweet surprise for tooth-friendly snacks. Although apples contain natural sugars, they’re also rich in fiber and water. On top of that, their crunchy texture means we’re chewing and salivating, which washes away pesky bacteria and food particles. Additionally, the fiber in both apples and carrots stimulates the gums.
While chomping fresh apples and carrots doesn’t quite take the place of a full brushing with fluoride toothpaste, it’s a great after-meal trick to tide you over until a toothbrush is handy – and help you hit your minimum five-a-day of fresh fruits and veggies at the same time.
If you’re caught without a toothbrush, gum acts as a stand-in cleaning mechanism. Chewing causes our mouths to secrete saliva, which kills bacteria. Think Milkbone for dogs. We humans aren’t all that different.
The key here is sugar-free. Sugary chewing gum will counteract the benefits of chewing by encouraging the plaque and bacteria that thrive on sucrose.
Posted In: Oral & Dental Health Tips