In a world where we’re always being told about how bad things are for our teeth, this article aims to be that ‘breath of fresh air’ you’ve been looking for. Instead of the negatives, we’ll focus on the positives, and what foods are actually good for your teeth.
That being said, a quick disclaimer about the bad foods…
Sugary foods are bad – they can lead to accelerated tooth decay. Other foods that are not meant o be chewed, like popcorn kernels for example, are also bad. In general, an unhealthy diet isn’t good for your body, and the same goes for your teeth. In fact, a bad diet often makes itself known (and felt) in your mouth first.
Now onto the good foods, the stuff we should be eating for a healthy smile, and a healthy life.
Leafy greens top the list, go figure, right? These greens (especially the darker ones) are chalk full of vitamins and minerals that are needed by your body to be healthy. Kale, spinach and the like also help promote oral health. This is because of their calcium levels, that work to keep your tooth enamel strong. They also contain the magic folic acid, which has been shown to prevent gum disease. Getting more leafy green into your diet is easy. You can just add a handful of leaves to a pizza, or pasta, or your sandwich for lunch. Of course, you could always eat a salad too, duh…
Provided you’re not lactose intolerant or vegan, then cheese is a great food for your oral health. Eating cheese helps raise the pH balance in your mouth which in turn helps lower your risk of tooth decay. Cheese is also chewy which will build up saliva and it contains calcium, proteins and nutrients needed to keep tooth enamel strong.
This one is similar to cheese in that it contains a lot of calcium and proteins need to fight tooth decay. It also contains helpful probiotics that will help your mouth stay full of good bacteria instead of the harmful bad bacteria. Of course, when we talk about yoghurt, we mean the plain, no sugar added variety.
Carrots are crunchy (acts as a mini tooth brushing) and are full of fibre that stimulates the gums to keep them strong. Eating carrots also increases the saliva production in your mouth and lowers the risk of cavities by helping rinse away bacteria and other food particles. We recommend saving your carrots for the end of your meal, so they can work most effectively.
Like carrots, apples are very fibrous and can act to scrub your teeth and stimulate your gums. Apples are just an all-round great food and as such, they’ll benefit your mouth in more ways than you know. Don’t think that because apples are sweet that they’re bad for your teeth. Natural fruit sugar isn’t the same as the refined variety, so dig right in.
Almonds and other nuts
Almonds, in particular, contain a lot of calcium and protein with little to no sugar. They’re also easy to eat by themselves as a snack or can be added to a variety of meals.
Do you think celery is bland and tasteless? Lots of people might agree with you, but in terms of your health, it’s one vegetable that you shouldn’t overlook. First off, celery acts as a natural toothbrush and can scrape food particles or bacteria off your teeth. Secondly, they contain a lot of water which is great for giving your mouth a rinse. They are also a great source for vitamin A and vitamin C, which are both antioxidants to boost the health of your gums. One thing we should mention is that we’re talking about raw, fresh celery, not celery that’s been boiled or added to a soup.
Eating the right foods can have a big impact on your oral health as well as the overall well-being of your body. The key is to stay away from foods that are hard to chew, those that are sticky or the ones that are full of refined sugars. Also, of note, is that no matter what you’re eating (good or bad foods) if you can gently brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after a meal, you’ll be doing your mouth and teeth favour. Our dentist at Martindale Dental in St. Catharines will also be more than happy to speak to you further about the best food to eat for your oral health and strong teeth.