10 Foods That Promote Healthy Teeth
What you eat and drink is as important to your oral health as it is to your overall physical health. While regularly brushing and flossing are important to keep your teeth healthy because it helps get rid of the food particles which causes plaque and cavities, what you eat and drink plays a role too. More and more studies are finding that there are certain foods that are good for your teeth just like certain foods are good for your heart.
Here are some foods that promote healthy teeth:
You might want to switch your coffee habit to a tea habit when you hear about its oral health benefits. One study from the University of Illinois in Chicago discovered that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea for one minute at least ten times a day had less buildup of plaque on their teeth than those who just rinse their mouths with water. Another study in the Journal of Dental Research also found that black tea helps with bad breath. Not all teas are alike though so make sure you stick to black and green teas which have a compound called polyphenols which slow the growth of bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. Who knew that being a tea drinker would help you keep your beautiful smile? Just be careful of the staining qualities of tea. Drink in moderation.
You can also get polyphenols in cranberries as well. Just be careful of the added sugar. Stick to fresh cranberries and avoid those processed cranberry products that may have a lot of sugar. Try topping your cereal or yogurt with some cranberries or add some to your salad for lunch.
Can’t resist some sugary sweetness? Keep the damage to a minimum by drinking a glass of milk after your indulgence. Milk is actually better at reducing acid in your mouth than drinking a glass of water. The milk in your bowl of that sugary cereal you have loved since you were a kid however doesn’t have the same effect though. In this situation, the milk just turns sugary and syrupy and will stick to your teeth.
Cheese like milk can also reduce the bacteria and acid levels in your mouth. So after that bowl of candy or ice cream, nibble on some cheese. One study even found that cheese is actually superior to both milk and sugar-free yogurt for reducing acid in your mouth. The act of chewing also increases your mouth’s production of saliva which can also help get rid of the bacteria. This doesn’t mean, however, that cheese fries every day is a good idea. Think more in terms of a couple of slices of fresh cheese.
Leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals which is important for your overall health, but also for the strength and health of your teeth. Because they are high in calcium and folic acid, they help strengthen your teeth enamel and reduces the risk for gum disease. Leafy greens work great in a salad, as a topping on a dish or even in a smoothie. Kale and spinach are probably the most popular of the leafy greens and are easy to find at your local supermarket.
While fruits have some sugar in them, they are still an important part of your diet. Just like with everything you eat, practice moderation. Because they are high in fiber and water, apples provide stimulation for your gums and help wash way those pesky food particles and bacteria that cause all the trouble. Try ending a meal with a fresh apple or having one for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.
Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery are also good for your teeth. Like apples, they are full of fiber and can increase the flow of saliva in your mouth. Both carrots and celery are also chock full of vitamin A and celery is also a good source of vitamin C. The act of chewing itself also increases the saliva in your mouth so chewing on any crunchy, health food is also a good idea.
Nuts like almonds are also a good source of protein and calcium and they are low in sugar. These nutrients will help to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Have some for a snack, mix some into your salad or even add them to your main meal at dinner. There are a lot of great recipes that incorporate almonds.
Drinking more water is the best way to avoid all those added sugars that come in sodas, juices and even coffee drinks. While water can seem too bland and boring, it really is the best beverage choice for your health and you should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Adding a little squeeze of lemon juice is okay if you need a little something to entice your taste buds more.
Not only are raisins naturally sweetened which means no table sugar, they are also a good source of phytochemicals which helps get rid of the bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities. Raisins are also a great low-calorie snack.
In between meals, chewing a gum that is sugarless can also keep your mouth feeling fresh and stimulate your saliva glands. Just make sure you stay away from the kinds that have sugar and that you don’t chew too many pieces in one day.
As you can see, you really are what you eat. Proper nutrition not only helps your body stay strong and healthy, it also helps your mouth fight off infection, cavities and gum disease. Besides adding more of these food and beverages to your diet, start reading food labels more diligently so you know what you are putting into your body. Too much sugar is a big problem in processed foods so you need to be careful and the lack of certain nutrients in your system can also be detrimental to your oral health. Try to be more cognizant of what you put in your mouth every day and not only will you feel better, your teeth will also feel and look great as well.