Growing up you always heard about all of the things to avoid eating to keep your teeth healthy. Candy will rot your teeth. Gum is bad for your teeth. Soda destroys your enamel. Well, there is a flipside to the conversation. Have you ever heard about what to eat for better dental health? Today this Miami Dentist is going to continue coverage of National Nutrition Month with some insight on foods that will help create healthy teeth and gums for life.
Comments by Dr. Ted Herrmann:
As a holistic dentistry practice, it is our belief that certain lifestyle changes increase oral health. By adjusting our diet, we can reduce tooth decay and give our mouths a fighting chance of retaining our teeth throughout our lives. Take a moment to review the following foods, and note how they benefit the teeth and gums in particular.
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What to Eat for Healthy Teeth
Citrus Fruits: You should be consuming lots of fruits that are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is extremely important for your dental health because it holds together the collagen network of your gums. When this network falls apart, your gums become tender and vulnerable to periodontal disease. Look for foods like strawberries, kiwis, and oranges.
Apples: The tart flavor of apples causes an increased flow of saliva. The saliva rinses away bacteria and keeps your mouth moist.
Vegetables: Most vegetables are high in vitamin A. This vitamin is responsible for the formation of tooth enamel. This is obviously important to you dental health. You can find a good amount of vitamin A in carrots, brussels sprouts, peas, pumpkins, spinach, and broccoli. The crunchy vegetables have an added benefit of cleansing and stimulating your gums.
Dark Chocolate: I’m sure you’ve always been told to avoid sweets for the sake of your dental health. However recent studies have shown that dark chocolate has chemicals in it that fight plaque buildup. If you are going to eat dark chocolate, do so in small portions and opt for at least 80% cocoa.
Milk and Yogurt: Getting enough calcium is important for strong teeth and bones. Unsweetened milk and/or yogurt can boost your calcium levels for healthy teeth. The low acidity and low sugar properties of milk and yogurt help to slow tooth decay as well.
Cheese: Another milk product chock full of calcium. Cheese balances the pH levels in your mouth, fights bacteria in your teeth and gums, rebuilds tooth enamel, and produces saliva.
Green Tea: Green tea contains substances called catechins that kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath and is responsible for turning sugar into plaque. Some green teas even contain fluoride which prevents tooth enamel decay.
Sesame Seeds: These seeds help by naturally scrubbing the plaque off of your teeth and contain high amounts of calcium.
Water: Water keeps your gums hydrated, washes away food particles stuck in your teeth, and helps stimulate saliva. Saliva is your body’s strongest defense against the bacteria that threaten your dental health.
Foods That Are Bad for your Teeth
Just as a refresher, let’s review the most harmful foods for teeth and gum health:
Sugary Candies: The bacteria that forms plaque uses sugar as its energy source. Don’t feed this bacteria! If you are going to have a sweet, avoid candies that last a long time in your mouth (caramels, cough drops, lollipops).
Starchy Foods: Foods like breads and potato chips have a habit of getting stuck in the back of your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth can use these carbohydrates as an energy source as well.
Soft Drinks: Soft drinks are almost always loaded with sugar. The phosphoric and citric acids also do a number on your tooth enamel.
Lemons: The acidity in a lemon is known to erode tooth enamel quickly.
Alcohol: Alcohol has plenty of sugars and also dries out your mouth.