Many of us grew up with parents who constantly reminded us about the dangers that sugary foods pose to our teeth. Far less often do we hear about foods that are actually good for them. We all know about dental care routines and how brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups keep our teeth in good shape, but what kinds of foods help strengthen them? Keep reading to find out!
A popular item, particularly for kids, cheese has been shown to raise the pH in the mouth and help lower the risk of tooth decay. It also helps strengthen tooth enamel with calcium and protein. As with other good foods, the act of chewing also encourages the production of saliva which aids in rinsing away harmful acids. This makes cheese a great after-meal snack.
Always popular on any list of healthy foods, leafy greens are good for teeth and general health. Kale and spinach, for example, are high in calcium and contain folic acid which has been suggested to be helpful for addressing gum disease in pregnant women. Leafy greens also contain fibre and require more chewing action, which is good for teeth (see above). Tossing some baby spinach into your next salad is a great way to add some to your diet.
Salmon is a fatty fish that is high in Omega-3 fats, and is also a source of vitamin D, which is useful in helping the body absorb calcium. This increases the benefit of eating foods like cheese, as it allows the calcium to strengthen your teeth more effectively.
Sweet foods are not always the enemy of healthy teeth. Apples are high in fibre, once again producing saliva through the act of chewing. Their fibrous nature also stimulates the gums and helps to scrub the teeth clean.
Yogurt is another great source of calcium and protein, but be sure to choose a plain yogurt without added sugar. As an added benefit to its tooth-friendly ingredients, yogurt also has beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that can help your gums by blocking out more harmful bacteria.
Not just for garnish for a classic Caesar drink, celery is also a wonderful tooth cleanser. While some are not fond of its stringy nature, the good news is that it manages to scrub away particles of food from your teeth, like an apple. It also provides vitamin C and vitamin A, antioxidants that are good for your gums.
Another good source of calcium and protein, almonds are a great addition to salads and stir-fries, but also make a great snack on their own. In addition to being healthy for your teeth, they also lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.
Let’s leave you with a bit of a treat. Chocolate can be good for your teeth, provided you choose one that is at least 70% cacao. Your teeth benefit from dark chocolate because it contains a substance called CBH, which has been demonstrated to help strengthen tooth enamel. Just remember that you want dark chocolate, and of course, consume in moderation.
Brushing and flossing is always at the top of the list of ways to protect your teeth and oral health, but remembering to include foods that are good for your teeth will help keep your smile bright for years to come!