You are what you eat, especially when it comes to the health of your teeth. Candy, soda, and other sugary foods contribute to tooth decay. Your oral health is one of the first areas to decline when your diet is less than ideal, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Clauss Orthodontics has compiled this healthy food and drink list to help you improve your diet and the overall health of your mouth.
There are many reasons to profess a love for cheese, so here is one more! It has been found that eating cheese can raise the pH in your mouth and lower the risk of tooth decay. The chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth, and cheese also contains nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel, like calcium and protein.
Yogurt is high in calcium and protein, much like cheese, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, found in yogurt benefit your gums by forcing the good bacteria to crowd out the cavity causing bacteria. Make sure to choose a plain variety with no added sugar if you decide to add more yogurt to your diet.
Leafy greens seem to be on every healthy foods list. They are low in calories while still being full of vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens, like kale and spinach, promote oral health. They are high in calcium, which helps build your teeth’s enamel. They also contain a type of B vitamin named folic acid that has numerous health benefits, including treating gum disease in pregnant women. Add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad or throw some kale on a pizza, or try adding some greens to a smoothie if you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet.
While the ADA recommends steering clear of most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples, are high in fiber and water, but they are also sweet. Bacteria and food particles are rinsed away by the saliva in your mouth produced by the action of eating an apple. The gums are stimulated by the fibrous texture of the fruit. Eating an apple can tide you over until you have a chance to brush your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. To give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of a meal, pack apple slices in your lunch.
Carrots are crunchy and full of fiber just like apples. To reduce your risk of cavities, eat a handful of raw, sliced carrots at the end of the meal to increase saliva production in your mouth. Besides being a great source of vitamin A, carrots are also high in fiber. Enjoy them either on their own, or top a salad with a few slices!
Celery, like carrots and apples, acts like a toothbrush as it scrapes food particles and bacteria away from your teeth, despite its bad reputation for being bland, watery, and full of those pesky strings. It is also a good source of the antioxidants, vitamins A and C, that give the health of your gums a boost. Top celery with cream cheese to make it extra tasty!
Almonds are a good source of calcium and protein while still being great for your teeth because they are so low in sugar. Add a handful of almonds to a salad or to a stir-fry at dinner, or enjoy a quarter cup of almonds anytime.
The best beverage you can give your mouth is tap water because it usually has added fluoride, which helps ward off tooth decay by strengthening the enamel on your teeth. Water’s zero-sugar content makes it one of the healthiest drinks available. It promotes neither tooth decay nor erosion. Not every city or municipality adds fluoride to its tap, and tap water is not great to drink everywhere you go. If the tap water in your area does not have added fluoride, or you think it does not taste very good, drink bottled water instead. Often times, if a bottled water contains fluoride, it will let you know with the message on its label, “Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of tooth decay.”
Milk is another healthy drink option that promotes good oral health. Milk is a good source of phosphorus, which helps to strengthen the enamel in teeth just like fluoride, and is also high in calcium and protein. If you are allergic or lactose intolerant, you can drink no-sugar-added soy milk that has been fortified with calcium. The added calcium and lack of sugar can provide the same benefit to your dental well-being.
You might be surprised to see tea on the list of healthy drinks. Plain and unsweetened tea actually benefits your mouth, whereas black tea stains teeth and sugary iced teas facilitate tooth decay. Tea contains polyphenols that help fight bacteria. Tea is a good option for warming up on a chilly day, and using fluoridated tap water to make it is even better.
When it comes to oral health, your diet makes a huge difference. Try and include all of the items from our list, and make sure you don’t forget the basics of brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups. If you are in the Watertown or Woodbury area and are looking for an orthodontist who also will help you achieve better oral health overall, look no further than Clauss Orthodontics. Our friendly staff is here to answer any questions you may have about how to better take care of your teeth and gums. Schedule a free consultation today or stop by one of our offices.