Many people believe that the only thing required to have good oral health is to have a proper oral hygiene routine. Although this is a very important component to maintaining healthy teeth and gums, your dietary choices can also be of equal or greater importance.
It’s no secret that consuming food and drinks high in sugar is bad for your teeth, but did you know that there are certain foods you can eat to strengthen your teeth and gums?
In fact, some foods are so good for your dental health that they can effectively reverse early tooth decay. In this article we have put together a list of the 5 best types of food for better oral health.
Vegetables that are high in fiber
One of the best examples of a high fiber vegetable that is not only delicious and nutritious but also great for your oral health is carrots. They are like a superfood for your mouth giving you a multitude of benefits such as:
- Scrubbing plaque off your teeth as you chew on them due to their abrasive texture
- Boosting the strength of your gums due to their high vitamin A content
- Making the pH of your mouth more alkaline due to the high water content and increased saliva secretion from chewing on them for an extended period of time
A lot of people eat carrots and other fibrous vegetables with dip as an appetizer or snack. If you want to use them optimally for strengthening your oral health, try eating them after meals to help clean your mouth from any food debris that may stick to your teeth.
One of the key reasons that tooth decay happens is from a process known as demineraization, which is essentially mineral depletion from the surface of your teeth due to a an acidic environment formed from excessive plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth.
Consuming dairy products effectively reverses this process remineralizing your teeth due to the high calcium and phosphorous content in most dairy products. Similar to fibrous vegetable, dairy products also promote saliva secretion further helping reduce the amount of tooth decaying acids in your mouth.
Some great examples of dairy products that you should fit into your diet are milk, yogurt and cheese, all of which are very high in phosphorous and calcium. If you are lactose intolerant or living a vegan lifestyle, some great alternatives which also provide huge benefits to oral health due to their high calcium content are almond milk and enriched soy milk.
Animal products high in essential minerals
Beef, chicken, fish and eggs are all great examples of animal products that are rich in essential minerals. All of these products are packed full of phosphorous and other minerals which are essential for strengthening tooth enamel through the remineralization process.
For vegans and vegetarians, tofu is a great substitute containing high levels of calcium and magnesium, two other essential minerals for strengthening tooth enamel.
Leafy greens in general are very good for your oral health, but parsley is so beneficial that we decided to single it out. Like most leafy greens, parsley is full of essential vitamins and minerals required in the tooth remineralisation process.
What really sets it apart from others in the same food group, however, is its well known anti-bacterial properties. Therefore parsley not only helps with the remineralization process, but also destroys bacteria in your mouth that can be detrimental to your oral health.
Parsley has also long been used as a natural breath freshener so try substituting it for chewing gum or breath mints next time you want to freshen your breath.
Drinking tea may seem counterintuitive since some teas are known to contribute to teeth stains. However, as long as you avoid putting too much sugar or sweeteners in your tea, it is actually very good for your oral health due to the following reasons:
- It keeps your mouth hydrated washing harmful bacteria and plaque that may stick to your teeth
- Tea leaves release fluoride when they are boiled in water which is one of the most critical minerals required to strengthen tooth enamel
Maintaining better oral health through your diet
In a world with so many processed foods high in sugar and starch, both terrible products for oral health, it can be quite difficult to choose foods that will contribute to strengthening your teeth and gums. These are just some of the foods that you can try fitting into your daily or weekly dietary routine to aid in keeping your mouth in good health.
As a good rule of thumb, the best things you can do is minimize food and drinks that are high in sugar and starches, and maximize your intake of food and drinks that are high in essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous and fluoride.