The foods you eat and beverages you drink impact your dental health more than almost any other factor. And you need to keep your teeth in working order if you’d like to continue enjoying foods of all kinds into your old age.
If you’d like to have a bright smile (and the ability to chew), follow these suggestions for a diet that will keep your teeth and mouth healthy.
1. Calcium Is Your Friend
It’s a widely known fact (thanks to the milk industry) that calcium contributes to the health of your teeth and bones. Milk, calcium-fortified juices, and other dairy products like yogurt are high in this all-important mineral. Adults 19 and older should get between 1,000 and 2,000 mg of calcium a day. It keeps your teeth strong!
2. Crisp, Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables Can Clean Your Teeth
Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables (think carrots and apples) scrapes plaque off your teeth. It’s like a natural toothbrush! These foods also strengthen your gums if you’re biting directly into them, so if possible, opt for eating a whole apple over a sliced one.
3. Cheese Is Like Super-Calcium
Cheese, more than other dairy products, can protect your teeth. Its texture lets it mix with the plaque on your teeth and cling to their surface, acting as a shield against the acid that’s responsible for tooth decay. And having that calcium directly on the surface of your teeth means your enamel rebuilds very quick.
4. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods, especially those with a lot of simple sugars, are terrible for your oral health. They not only wear away at your teeth, they can contribute to halitosis, gingivitis, and other maladies of the mouth. The more you can stay away from processed, sugary treats, the better your oral health will be.
5. Cranberries Can Protect You from Pathogens
Cranberries are high in anthocyanins, as are blueberries, red cabbage, and eggplant peel. These foods can stop pathogens from attaching to your teeth and reproducing there. Eating these foods can help build up your mouth’s immune system, giving you a defense against diseases of the mouth and nasty forms of plaque.
6. Green Tea Is Nature’s Mouthwash
The antioxidant polyphenols that green tea is loaded with have been proven to fight bacteria and its negative byproducts in your mouth. Drinking green tea can improve your oral health, in part because it often has high levels of fluoride, which strengthens your enamel.
7. Folic Acid Is the Good Kind of Acid
While acidic compounds are usually the enemy when it comes to dental health, folic acid, which is found in leafy green veggies like kale and heartier vegetables like broccoli, is good for your mouth. The acid is a form of B vitamin and has restorative functions throughout the body, including in your mouth, where it can combat gum disease by supporting cell growth.
You shouldn’t throw your toothbrush away and rely solely on your diet to keep your teeth healthy. But following the suggestions above will go a long way toward boosting your dental fortitude. Chomp away!