Modern medical advancements have enabled mankind to enjoy a longer lifespan than ever before! Sadly, all too many people live to old age but are unable to keep their natural teeth. In most cases, tooth loss is preventable! You might know about regular check-ups with your dentist and good oral hygiene habits are essential to keeping your teeth strong and healthy. But have you ever thought about the effect of your dietary habits on your teeth?
Eating and drinking habits have a significant influence on your overall oral health. Here’s a quick look at 10 foods to eat to enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth. (See also: 4 Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy For a Life Time)
You may have heard the adage about the apple a day keeps the doctor away. Ditto for the dentist!
Apples can help you scrub your teeth free of bacteria and bits of food after a meal. They contain a lot of fiber that acts as a scrubbing mechanism for your teeth and your gums. Plus, it has a high content of water which rinses away debris. This can be especially helpful in a setting where you can’t get to a sink to brush your teeth!
Both black and green teas contain polyphenols. These compounds stunt the spread of bacteria in your gums, teeth, and tongue. Simply put, polyphenols reduce plaque build-up. As an added benefit, polyphenols help decrease the bacteria that causes bad breath. Drinking unsweetened tea can have a wonderful effect on your daily hygiene.
One caveat, tea can stain your teeth. Drinking tea can kill bacteria but should not replace brushing to prevent staining.
Cheese is a favorite food of so many, and it turns out it’s healthy for your teeth!
Cheese is proven to change the pH level inside your mouth to a level that keeps bacteria from forming. Also, it contains protein and calcium which are both essential to keeping your tooth enamel healthy.
It’s no wonder that water makes the list! It seems like every doctor advises that we drink more of it.
The dentist will wholeheartedly agree with your family physician on this bit of advice! Like all other human organs, the tongue requires water to remain healthy for your entire lifetime.
As far as your teeth go, water is also the best beverage choice. Water is free of both sugar that causes plaque dyes that can stain the teeth. However, it will also aid in flushing away bacteria and debris.
Replacing sugary drinks with water is an extremely smart move for your overall health.
SALMON & TUNA
Not only are salmon & tuna great for your overall health, it turns out that they are great for your teeth. These fish are very rich in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient to keep your tooth enamel strong for your lifetime! Plus, these types of fatty fish deliver Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to gum health.
Some people consider kale a “superfood,” and with great reason! It’s a widely-available, nutrient-dense food that does wonders for your nutrition.
Your teeth love kale because it contains Vitamin K, folic acid, and Omega-3 fatty acids, important anti-inflammatory nutrients. These keep your gums healthy and resistant to infections which can cause tooth loss.
“Drink your milk, it’s good for your teeth,” your mom probably told you. It turns out that mom was right! Milk contains phosphorous and calcium; these are minerals which strengthen and protect your tooth enamel. Look for milk enriched with Vitamin D to deliver extra nutrition to your teeth!
One caution: milk does contain lactose, a form of sugar. Be aware of that and follow up your glass of milk with one of those apples we talked about earlier!
Some are surprised to learn that raisins are actually very healthy for your teeth! Because they have a slightly sticky feeling, people think they contain sugar. And they do. However, what they DON’T contain is sucrose which is the sugar responsible for plaque build-up.
Raisins contain phytochemicals. These compounds are helpful in fighting the bacteria that causes plaque. So the next time you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can grab a handful of raisins and be guilt-free!
Almonds are another healthy snack to make the list. This is for two reasons. First, almonds contain tooth-healthy Vitamins D and E as well as calcium. Those nutrients help maintain tooth strength. Second, the physical act of munching on a handful of almonds makes your mouth produce saliva. This, in turn, helps to rinse your mouth with harmful bacteria.
Like the apples mentioned earlier, carrots have a crunchy texture that scrubs away food particles and bacteria to leave you with a clean mouth. However, they are also high in beta-carotene which aids your body in the production of Vitamin A. Your mouth needs Vitamin A to help you produce saliva which balances the acidity of your mouth.
In summary, your dietary choices do have an impact on your teeth. The combination of good brushing and flossing habits, healthy food choices, and regular dental visits can all add up to you keeping your teeth for your entire lifetime. (See also: 6 Everyday Foods that are Harmful to Your Teeth)
About The Author:
Dr. Holly Gregory is a proud Texas native and board-certified periodontal specialist. She has built a reputation for providing compassionate care and state-of-the-art dental implants in her Humble, TX practice. Dr. Gregory is passionate about dental wellness for all people from birth to seniors, and she loves sharing her knowledge firsthand.