There is no substitution for brushing and flossing, but there are several foods that can make, or break, the health of your teeth and gums. Everyone knows that sugar is public enemy number-one, but there are plenty of good foods (and beverages) out there that can help you get one step ahead on your good oral health.
• Tea time, anytime. Both black and green tea contain certain compounds that have been proven to slow down the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease and cavities. These compounds, called polyphenols, can also fight bad breath and reduce plaque buildup.
• It’s cheesy, but it helps. For those who can’t get enough cheddar, this is good news. Eating cheese can raise the pH in your mouth which helps lower the risk of tooth decay. Cheese is high in phosphate and calcium, which are both essential to strengthen tooth enamel.
• An apple a day keeps cavities away? Though apples are sweet, they are high in fiber and water, which makes them wonderful health-helpers. Crunching into an apple stimulates the flow of saliva to rinse away food particles while scrubbing your teeth and gums.
• Raisin’ the bar. Raisins are nature’s candy, but don’t let that sweetness fool you. They don’t contain the same kind of sugar as you put in your coffee. Full of phytochemicals that can kill plaque-causing bacteria, they also help prevent gum disease.
• Almonds are awesome. A great source of protein and calcium, while staying low in sugar, almonds are a great addition to a dental diet. Calcium helps redeposit minerals back into tooth enamel making teeth strong and healthy.
• Bacteria fights bacteria. By now you’ve heard of the benefits of probiotics; the “good” bacteria that balances your system. The probiotics found in in yogurt can crowd out the bad bacteria in your mouth that can cause plaque and decay.
• Great greens. As healthy as they are for your body, leafy greens work wonders in the mouth. High in calcium, phosphorous, and folic acid, they strengthen tooth enamel, treat gun disease, and support bone-health in the jaw.
• Kiwi craze. Kiwi fruit contains the highest amount of vitamin C of all the fruits. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, which is what keeps gums healthy. Without it, gums become tender and prone to periodontal disease.
Choosing the right foods and beverages can go a long way toward strong teeth, healthy gums, and good dental health overall. See your dentist regularly to make sure that you’re on the track to keeping your mouth healthy, no matter what your daily meal consists of.