Most people know that improving general health starts with better food choices, but have you considered what goes in your mouth for the sake of your teeth? Just like every other part of the body, teeth need specific nutrients to thrive, including calcium, vitamin A and D, phosphorous and fiber. There are foods that support oral health with these vitamins and minerals, and others that can instead erode a tooth’s surface, harbor bacteria and increase decay. To help you keep those biters pearly white and fit for healthy feasting, here is our list of foods to enjoy and foods to avoid for better oral health.
GOOD FOOD FOR HEALTHY TEETH
Celery & Crunchy Veggies
Providing two great oral benefits in one healthy snack, celery and other crunchy and high fiber veggies are able to lightly clean the surface of your teeth while also creating more saliva through the amount of chewing needed to break them down. More saliva supports health mouth tissue and also acts as a natural mouthwash, removing food particles from the teeth and gums to help prevent cavities.
Chia seeds are an incredibly versatile powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, from smoothies to protein balls the addition of chia seeds to your diet can improve your health on so many levels. For your dental needs, eat your daily chia puddings guilt free because they contain calcium, vitamin A, fiber and phosphorous that support healthy teeth.
There’s not much this incredible oil can’t do, we love using it for cooking, moisturising and now we’ll add dental care to the list as well. The practice of oil pulling - swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes - can draw out toxins that collect in your mouth. This helps to prevent tooth decay and creates an environment in your mouth that’s difficult for bacteria to thrive. Researchers are recognizing the positive impact this regular practice can have on general dental health alongside traditional oral health maintenance.
Packed with calcium, milk, cheese, and yogurt are great for maintaining a healthy smile but can also repair and strengthen tooth enamel thanks to the protein casein. When consumed as Kefir, a fermented milk drink, you can receive the benefits of the fatty acid profile and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2 - a perfect mix for oral and general health.
Consuming fatty fish such as wild-caught salmon or sardines gives your diet a boost of Vitamin D which allows your body to absorb all the benefits of calcium from other foods you eat. Fatty fish also contains phosphorus which supports stronger tooth enamel, and the Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to improvements in periodontitis (gum disease). Don’t like fish? Consider fish oil supplements so you don’t miss out on all the benefits.
We bet you never thought a sweet treat could be good for your teeth! The compound CBH found in cacao has been shown to help harden tooth enamel and prevent decay. So enjoy a square or two of a nice 70% dark chocolate block knowing you’re doing something good for your teeth.
Green and Black Tea
Tea can be a great choice to accompany or follow a meal as the polyphenols found in green and black tea can kill or suppress the bacteria that cause plaque.
FOODS TO AVOID
While citrus may provide great benefits with high levels of Vitamin C, the acids found in citrus break down tooth enamel and can cause irreversible damage when consumed regularly. The two main culprits are lemon juice and grapefruit juice. If you’re like us and love to have a lemon juice in the morning for a great start to the day and to aid with digestion, for better dental health this should be followed by plain water. You should avoid brushing your teeth immediately before or after your citrus drink to allow your saliva to do its work balancing the PH levels in your mouth.
For so many reasons we avoid highly processed white bread, but in terms of oral health white bread is on the no-go list because it sticks to the crevices of your teeth and its enzymes convert into sugars creating a perfect environment for bacteria.
Loaded with sugar and highly acidic, there isn’t much going for sports drinks in terms of oral health. Not only is the list of ingredients alarming, the fact that these drinks are usually sipped slowly means the damaging ingredients are staying in the mouth longer and coating the teeth for longer which exacerbates the issue.
You might have dried fruits on your Healthy list, but when it comes to your teeth dried fruits are high in sugar and are sticky so the sugars stay on the teeth longer, feeding bad bacteria. Opt for fresh fruit instead!
Pickles are highly acidic and can wear down your tooth enamel more than any other food. If you love to snack on pickles, we recommend you rinse your mouth with water after eating them.
Practicing good oral hygiene with a combination of traditional methods and a teeth-friendly diet should see you donning a healthy smile for years to come.
Tell us in the comments below about your top natural teeth tips.