We all know that some foods are bad for our teeth: soda, candy, and ice, for example. While avoiding these foods is critical to dental health, it’s also wise to get acquainted with the foods that are good for your teeth, and eat more of those. Fortunately, there are dozens of tooth-healthy food options out there. You just have to know which ones to choose.
In this post, we’ll cover a few of our favorite tooth-boosting snacks and meals. Let’s dive in.
6 Foods That Strengthen Your Teeth
You are what you eat. That’s as true for your teeth as it is anything else. To boost the health and wellbeing of your teeth, incorporate these delicious, flavorful foods into your diet more regularly:
Cheese lovers, rejoice! It’s one of the top foods dentists recommend eating for good dental health.
According to a study published in a 2013 issue of General Dentistry, eating cheese boosts the pH of your mouth, thus lowering the risk of dental decay. Additionally, chewing cheese increases saliva production, thereby coating and protecting teeth and restoring balance to the dental environment. Finally, cheese contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.
With that in mind, grab a slice of cheddar next time you need a tasty, mouth-healthy snack.
Crunchy, nutritious, and delicious – oh my! Carrots are a great snack as far as your oral health is concerned. Chock-full of fiber and vitamin A, carrots increase your mouth’s natural saliva levels, thus reducing your risk of cavities. Additionally, the texture and crunch of carrots can give teeth a light cleaning, serving to wipe away bacteria and plaque buildup.
Almonds are a heart-healthy snack, but they’re also great for your teeth. A great source of protein and enamel-boosting calcium, almonds are low in sugar and nutritious to boot. Add a few sliced almonds to a stir-fry or salad, or eat a handful of raw, unsalted almonds next time you need a mid-afternoon blood sugar boost.
Yogurt, like cheese, is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Because of this, it’s a great choice for anyone who wants a stronger, healthier, cleaner teeth. Additionally, yogurt contains naturally-occurring probiotics, which balance the bacteria levels in the mouth, banish cavity-causing bacteria, and restore healthy oral pH. If you decide to eat more yogurt, be sure you’re opting for protein-dense Greek yogurt varieties with no added sugar.
5. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are great for everything from your heart to your digestive system. So is it any surprise that they’re excellent for your teeth, as well? Packed with minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, while also being low in calories, leafy greens contain calcium to build tooth enamel, folic acid, and B vitamins that can reduce your risk of dental disease and bacteria buildup. If you have trouble getting enough leafy greens in your diet, consider adding a handful to a stir-fry, smoothie, or your lunchtime sandwich.
Celery might taste a little less exciting than yogurt or cheese, but it’s great for your chompers. Like carrots, apples, and other crunchy fruits and veggies, it acts as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing the teeth and removing bacteria and plaque buildup. Celery is also a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, as well as fiber. Top your celery with cream cheese or almond butter for an extra nutrient-dense snack.
Eating for Your Dental Health
Just like you can eat to lower your blood pressure, decrease blood sugar spikes, or build muscle, you can eat to promote strong, healthy teeth. Here are a few tips from the American Dental Association to do just that:
- “Drink plenty of water
- Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:
- whole grains
- lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas, and other legumes
- low-fat and fat-free dairy foods
- Limit the number of snacks you eat.
- If you do snack, choose something healthy like fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities.”
In addition to following the tips above, it’s also essential to keep your dental habits up to snuff. This means brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Look for a toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. To keep teeth healthy and prevent plaque buildup, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly – at least twice a year, or more frequently if you have particular dental concerns.
Finally, keep your teeth healthy by being mindful of what you eat. Foods with high sugar content contribute to dental decay and other dental conditions. To limit your sugar intake, start reading the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on the foods you consume. Be mindful of sneaky sources of sugar – like beverages, fruit juices, and whole fruits. Stay away from distinct sources of processed sugar, like candy and soft drinks.
If you do have a sweet snack, be sure to flush your mouth with water immediately afterward, and to brush your teeth as quickly as possible. This will limit the amount of time the sugar has to impact your teeth and wash away any residue that could contribute to dental decay. Even if you brush your teeth immediately afterward, avoiding sugar is still the best bet to keep your mouth healthy.
Building Strong Teeth Doesn’t Have to be Hard
If you want to boost your oral health and experience less frequent trips to the dentist, start by evaluating your diet. Even a few simple changes can go a long way toward improving your dental health and creating better outcomes for your teeth. Your dentist and your mouth will thank you.
Concerned about your dental health? Overdue for your check-up? Give our team a call today to book your annual cleaning!
Today, dental decay affects more than 90% of the U.S. population. Gum disease, meanwhile, affects about 50% of people over the age of 30, and 40% of kids under the age of 19 are suffering from tooth decay, as well.
As you can see from these statistics, dental decay is an alarming problem in the U.S., and it shows no signs of stopping any time soon. The biggest culprit leading to these issues is poor oral hygiene. Just behind that, though, is the lack of a balanced, healthy diet.
They say you are what you eat, and that’s as true for your teeth as it is everything else. Depending on what you eat or drink, you can enhance or harm the health of your pearly whites. Eat and drink the right things, and you’ll boost the health of your mouth. Eating and drinking the wrong things, though, or not getting enough of what your mouth needs and your teeth will suffer.
Is Your Mouth Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals?
Proper nutrition benefits your entire body – not just your teeth and gums. When you ingest ample vitamins and minerals, though, you do your mouth a significant favor and help set it up for success. In addition to supporting the healthy function of your mouth, you also give it the tool and material it needs to fight off dental decay and other troubling conditions. With that in mind, here are a few vitamins and minerals to focus on, specifically:
Most of us know that calcium is good for our bones, but its benefits go much deeper than that. Calcium is a critical building block for the teeth. In addition to helping maintain healthy teeth, calcium strengthens the structure of the teeth, improving enamel and making teeth stronger and harder to break.
Looking for good sources of calcium? Add dairy products to your diet. Cheese, milk, and yogurt are all tooth-healthy snacks that pack a serious calcium punch. If you’re on a vegan diet, look instead to fortified cereals and leafy green veggies.
Phosphorous is a critical vitamin for anyone who wants healthy teeth. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, phosphorus is one of the most common minerals in the body, behind only calcium. As it turns out, most of the phosphorus in your body lives in your teeth. Because of that, incorporating enough phosphorus into your daily diet is a critical way to care for your teeth and keep your mouth healthy.
Phosphorus is found in many foods that are also a good source of protein, including nuts, eggs, legumes, dairy, and more. You can also find ample phosphorus in whole grains and dried fruit. If you’re still concerned you’re not getting enough phosphorus, talk to your doctor about supplementing.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for dozens of body systems. In addition to playing a significant role in keeping your teeth healthy, it’s also a crucial factor in how your body absorbs calcium. Without enough vitamin D, your body actually starts to pull calcium reserves from your bones and teeth, which contributes to weak systems and an increased risk of fractures and cracks.
To add extra Vitamin D to your diet, look to milk, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin D is also easy to supplement, and you can talk to your doctor about adding a vitamin D supplement to your diet.
4. Vitamin C
Some vitamins support your teeth, and others support everything around them. That’s where Vitamin C comes in. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin C supports your body as it creates blood vessels that feed your teeth. Additionally, your body needs the nutrient to promote healing and support immune function. People who have a vitamin C deficiency often experience increased rates of dental infections and bleeding gums.
5. Vitamin A
According to the NIH, Vitamin A is good for your teeth and your whole body. In addition to supporting healthy vision, Vitamin A supports healthy tissue and mucous membrane production. Meat, eggs, dairy, and poultry are excellent sources of Vitamin A, although you can also supplement if you’re not getting enough from your diet. Talk to your doctor if you think this might be the case.
Eating for Strong Teeth and Gums: 3 Critical Snacks
If you want to keep your mouth healthy and happy, the best thing you can do is focus on your diet. Here are a few simple tips for doing just that:
1. Look for Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium is critical for your teeth, and it’ll go a long way to boost the strength of your enamel and teeth themselves. With this in mind, look for foods like milk, Greek yogurt, cheese, tofu, salmon, dark green leafy veggies, and almonds. These are all great sources of calcium and will help you take care of your teeth.
2. Eat Eggs
Your teeth need phosphorus, and eggs are a great source of that. If you’re not a big fan of eggs, you can choose fish, lean meat, nuts, beans, and dairy to boost dental health and contribute to good overall nutrition.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a super-nutrient. It boosts your immune system, promotes gum health, and battles dangerous bacteria in your mouth. With this in mind, eat lots of citrus, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, and broccoli. You can also supplement with Vitamin C if you don’t believe you’re getting enough.
Eat for Your Dental Health
Vitamins and minerals are critical to your overall health and your dental health. If you’re interested in eating for better dental health, this post offers some smart places to start. Not only does getting ample vitamins and minerals ensure strong teeth and healthy gums, but it’ll also boost your immune system, support healthy body function, and keep your skin beautiful and luminous.
Want to learn more about eating for your dental health? Contact our office to schedule a visit, check-up, or cleaning today!
“You are what you eat.” As it turns out, that adage may be especially true when it comes to your teeth. The front lines of defense when it comes to acids, colors, dyes, and bacteria in our food, our teeth work especially hard during mealtime. Because of this, it makes sense that certain foods would be good for your teeth, while others would put them at risk of decay, discoloration, and damage.
Here’s what you need to know about the top foods that are bad for your teeth, and a few you can sub out instead.
10 Foods That Are Terrible for Your Teeth
Did you know that cavities are the single most common chronic disease in people ages 6-19 years old? Don’t worry, though. You can prevent or decrease cavities by taking good care of your teeth, brushing often, and limiting or avoiding these ten foods and drinks:
Most people know that pop isn’t great for our teeth. What lots of us don’t know, however, is exactly how damaging it can be. According to one recent study, drinking large quantities of soda may be as detrimental to human teeth as using crack cocaine or methamphetamine.
Let that sink in for a moment.
So, why are sodas so damaging? The answer is acid. Carbonated sodas create a chemical reaction in your mouth, which allows the plaque on your teeth to create more acid. The acid then goes to work on your dental enamel, leading to rapid decay and discoloration. Finally, sodas can stain teeth and cause dry mouth – both of which wreak dental health havoc.
2. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a healthy snack, right? Right! Unfortunately, it does a number on your teeth. Dried fruits like apricots and raisins, for example, have a sticky residue which can coat your teeth and get stuck in the gaps between the tooth and the gum.
Over time, the sugars in the coating interact with the plaque in your mouth, creating an ideal environment for decay. If you’re going to snack on dried fruit, be sure to brush and floss your teeth afterward.
3. Potato Chips
Potato chips are delicious, but they’re a prime source of starch. When you crunch on this salty snack, the starch transforms to sugar in your mouth. When that sugar becomes trapped between your teeth, it feeds bacteria and plaque and promotes acid production and decay. If you can’t avoid potato chips altogether, brush and floss as soon as you’ve finished your snack
4. Citrus Fruits
Oranges, lemons, limes, oh my! Citrus fruits pack a welcome punch, but their acid content is tough on teeth, eating away at enamel and weakening a tooth’s natural defenses. If you want to take advantage of the health benefits of citrus without harming your chompers, keep your citrus intake moderate and swish your mouth with water after you’re done eating.
Candy is a bit like soda when it comes to our teeth. Most people know it’s not health food. As it turns out, though, some candies are worse than others when it comes to our teeth.
Sour and hard candidates, for example, stick to teeth and dissolve slowly in the mouth, respectively. This jacks up acid content and creates a residue that’s tough to brush away. Swap these sweet treats for a square of dark chocolate, instead. Chocolate won’t coat teeth and is easier to brush away.
Even nice, healthy, homemade wheat bread contains starch, and when you eat starch, your mouth breaks it down into sugar. This sugar becomes a sticky, gummy paste that lodges into the crevices of teeth and promotee decay.
While you can cut down on this effect by opting for more wholesome, whole-wheat varieties, it’s smart to brush your teeth after enjoying that lunchtime sandwich.
Alcohol does something interesting to the mouth: it cuts saliva production and creates dry mouth. Unfortunately, saliva keeps teeth healthy, and dry mouths are more susceptible to damage, decay, and dental staining. Additionally, saliva helps reduce the likelihood of oral infections and keep teeth healthy. With this in mind, keep alcohol intake to a minimum and drink plenty of water.
Ice seems harmless, but it can break and fracture teeth if you decide to chew it. Even if ice doesn’t break teeth, it can crack enamel and loosen crowns, leading to expensive dental bills and more. Because of this, it’s critical to avoid chewing ice and other hard objects.
9. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is billed as a healthy snack, but it contains lots of natural sugars. In fact, some fruit juice contains the same amount of sugar as drinks like Coke or Pepsi. With this in mind, keep your fruit juice consumption minimal, and rinse your mouth with water afterward.
10. Fried Food
Fried food is dense in calories, but it also contains chemical compounds like acrylamide, oxysterols, acrolein, heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and more. These compounds boost your risk of cancer and heart disease, while also lodging in your teeth and creating a perfect environment for decay. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to limit your consumption of fried food, and always to brush your teeth after you enjoy a cheat meal.
Keeping Your Mouth Healthy
Your mouth works hard when it comes to mealtime. In addition to breaking down food, making it easier to process nutrients, and creating an enjoyable experience, your mouth also takes the brunt of the acids, bacteria, and textures contained in our foods.
This year, do your mouth a solid by being mindful of what you’re putting on your plate. Swapping out food that is tough on your teeth for foods that are easier to chew and eat will go a long way toward protecting your dental health and reducing emergency dental visits.
Are you overdue for your yearly cleaning or exam? Contact our offices today to book your first appointment with our team of friendly, knowledgeable dentists.
Not only can food affect your overall health it can affect your teeth and oral health as well. Maintaining a proper diet can occasionally be difficult and confusing about what is good for you and what is not. We are here to help you find the best food choices to help your teeth and oral health.
Eating the right foods can be very helpful with your oral health, even when eating the right foods it is still important to visit your dentist regularly. We are here to help you be healthy and stay healthy!