Proper nutrition is essential for healthy teeth and gums. The foods we eat supply the body with the nutrients it needs for good oral health. However, a diet high in sugars and starches can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Lack of proper nutrition can also lead to other conditions, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, including oral cancer.
What we eat and drink has a strong influence on our smiles. For stronger, healthier teeth and gums, follow these important nutrition tips.
Healthier Teeth Tips and Tricks
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Water performs many functions in the body. It helps neutralize harmful acids in the mouth, washes away food debris, aids in saliva flow, and hydrates the mouth. Drinking water containing trace minerals such as those found in tap water, can also help restore and strengthen tooth enamel through a process known as remineralization.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
When planning meals, try to add ingredients from all five major food groups. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, and lean sources of protein like skinless poultry, lean beef, fish, peas, dry beans, and other legumes.
3. Limit Snacking
Although you can enjoy the occasional treat without concern, snacking too often can be bad for your teeth. Foods and beverages high in sugars and starches increase the activity of bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria can then convert these sugars into acids that damage your teeth and contribute to cavities. Snack in moderation and try to eat most of your food at mealtimes. If you do choose to snack, opt for a healthy treat like fruit, veggies, or a piece of cheese.
4. Choose Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for healthy teeth. It helps strengthen tooth enamel which acts as your teeth’s defense against erosion and cavities. Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and is mostly stored in the bones and teeth. You can help your body maintain an ample supply by choosing calcium-rich foods. Try different cheeses, seeds, yogurt, beans, lentils, and some dark green leafy vegetables.
5. Enjoy Green Tea
While water should be your primary beverage of choice, green tea is a great alternative when you’re looking for something with a bit more flavor. Green tea can help improve the health of your teeth and gums by making your mouth more alkaline. This inhibits the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, slowing the progression of oral cancer, freshening breath, and decreasing inflammation.
6. Crunch on Raw Fruits and Veggies
Raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables are excellent additions to a well-balanced diet. Consuming raw, crunchy fruits and veggies like apple slices and carrot sticks can help clean your teeth and remove stuck-on food particles that can contribute to plaque buildup. Try to add fresh fruits and veggies to every meal.
7. Pick Foods Containing Vitamin C
While there are many vitamins that support healthy teeth, vitamin C is among the most important. Vitamin C helps increase immunity in the body and prevent gum infections. Today, vitamin C is available in supplement form but most people can get a sufficient amount through the foods they eat. Spinach, potatoes, chili peppers, thyme, parsley, kiwi, kale, broccoli, lemons, strawberries, oranges, and many other foods pack a large amount of vitamin C.
8. Chew Xylitol Gum After Meals
Finish your meal with a stick of xylitol gum to help support a healthy smile. Xylitol helps increase saliva production in the mouth which prevents bacteria from producing cavity-causing acids. The act of chewing, in combination with the artificial sweeteners in the gum, can help stimulate ten times the normal rate of saliva flow. Avoid gum that is high in sugars which can cause further damage to your teeth.
Schedule an Appointment with Bonham Dental Arts
Good nutrition is the key to a healthy smile. For even more nutrition tips for healthy teeth or to schedule an appointment with our family dentist, contact Bonham Dental Arts today in Largo, FL.