Healthy teeth are extremely important. They’re a big part of our appearance, but more than that are vital to our oral wellbeing.
So we need to take good care of them. Yes, we know the basics: brush every day, floss, use mouthwash, regular dental check-ups. But surprisingly, good dental hygiene alone might not be enough. It helps for sure, but a good diet can also give us the perfect smile.
Following a diet plan that’s good for our teeth can also save us a ton of money from frequent dentist visits or costly procedures to repair tooth damage. Most people have this idea that teeth aren’t alive, but they very much are. Our teeth are rich in blood vessels and nerve endings that keep them alive and well nourished so if we’re on a bad diet, it will most definitely affect the health and appearance of our teeth.
Here are the five best foods for healthy teeth:
1. Choose calcium and phosphorous
Our teeth have a hard, outer surface of enamel which is made up of minerals. Food and drink can cause this to wear away, which could cause sensitivity or even tooth decay. It’s important that we replenish the minerals that make up our enamel. Eating a diet high in calcium and phosphorous can contribute to the overall health of our teeth. The best sources of calcium are yoghurt, seafood, cheese, milk, and tofu. Phosphorous is found in fish, nuts, eggs, red meat and also tofu.
2. Eat food with a high water content
Firm and crunchy foods with a lot of water are very good for our teeth because they allow us to chew more, which produces more saliva, the best natural defence against bacteria. The texture in these foods and the fibre clean our teeth by softly scrubbing our tooth enamel and gums as we chew, thus removing plaque and other food particles. Good examples of crunchy food with high water content are fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery.
3. Follow a vitamin C-rich diet
It’s no secret that vitamin C is a powerful defence against infection and can strengthen our blood vessels. It’s also associated with reducing inflammation which helps our gums stay healthy. Vitamin C can also help in bleeding gums. Not enough vitamin C can lead to teeth sensitivity and gum disease. Good sources of vitamin C are not too hard to find. Some of the best foods rich in vitamin C are fruits such as strawberries, oranges, kale, bell peppers and broccoli.
4. Increase your leafy greens
Eating green, leafy vegetables can greatly affect not only your oral health but your overall health as well. Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals. Most vegetables are high in calcium which helps build up enamel. They also have abundance of folic acid which has been known to treat gum disease. Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce contain a lot of minerals like magnesium and calcium, and also vitamin A and vitamin C, all good components to build healthy and strong teeth. This doesn’t mean only eating salads from now on, but try adding some leafty vegetables to your regular meals. Even small steps in the right direction can go a long way.
5. Be fruity
Adding more fruit to your daily diet can also help with your oral health. Fruits like strawberries are full of antioxidants that helps strengthen teeth and fight bacterial infection. Apples are full of fibre and water, which helps to remove plaque build-up and can produce more saliva, which helps to protect your teeth against cavities. Pears are good at neutralising acid which weakens the enamel in teeth. Citrus foods contain a lot of vitamin C which aid in the growth of teeth and also fight against infection. They neutralise strong acids and keep bacterial growth in check.
A varied diet
Really, there are numerous food groups that help keep teeth healthy. Red wine in small amounts has been shown to be a strong antimicrobial that helps fight bacterial growth in our mouth. Nuts like almonds are good for our teeth because they are a source of protein and calcium, all important components for healthy teeth. It’s also important to pay attention to what we drink that could affect our oral health. Fizzy drinks and artificial juices are usually a no-no as they are both quite sugary and acidic. They could lead to tooth decay and increase teeth sensitivity to some people.