There are many preventative steps to keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free: flossing before bedtime, twice-daily brushing, and professional cleaning twice a year. But have you ever thought about trying a dental care diet? Believe it or not, choosing certain foods greatly impacts your overall oral health. Intrigued? Then review the tips below and start eating your way to healthy teeth.
Dental Care Diet: Foods That Support Healthy Teeth
Specific nutrients boost the function of many parts of the body. For example, lutein and zeaxanthin support eye health, and omega-3 fatty acids improve vascular health. The key to a dental care diet is to eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support healthy teeth and gums. Here are some ideas.
Eat foods with calcium and phosphorus
The enamel that encompasses your teeth is a mineral. Unfortunately, over time, consuming acidic foods eats away at the enamel. To support what was lost and to strengthen them overall, eat foods rich in calcium and phosphorus.
- Calcium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, sardines (with bones), dairy, and almonds. However, when you consume dairy, try to avoid flavored yogurts, as they contain a lot of sugar, which leads to tooth decay.
- Phosphorus-rich foods include Brazil nuts, eggs, broth, sunflower seeds, tuna, and white beans.
Choose crunchy foods with high-water content
Crunchy foods are excellent for oral health because they require more chewing, which in turn produces saliva. Saliva is beneficial to your teeth for neutralizing the bad bacteria that cause cavities. The texture of these foods is also great because they’re mildly abrasive, so they’ll clean and scrub the surface of your teeth, taking with it plaque and food particles.
Crunchy foods with high-water content include carrots, apples, celery, and cucumbers.
Get your vitamins
It’s always important to follow a whole foods diet, but here are the vitamins that specifically support oral health:
- Vitamin D. This vitamin is amazing for many biological functions in your body, from immune support to dental health. It also helps the body absorb calcium. Get vitamin D through sun exposure cod liver oil, fish, and egg yolks.
- Vitamin C. It supports immune health and inflammation balance. Less inflammation means healthier gums. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen production, a protein that aids in fighting periodontal disease. Eat citrus fruits, strawberries, and red peppers for the highest amounts of vitamin C.
Remember lesser-known nutrients
While you may have heard of the following nutrients, their connection to dental health isn’t as widely-known, but they’re powerhouses.
- Antioxidants. They’re amazing for fighting bacteria that cause inflammation and periodontal disease. They can also protect from cell damage and bacterial infections.
- Probiotics. Bacteria can be both beneficial and harmful in the body, but probiotics are good bacteria. They can help reduce plaque and support healthy gums. You can find naturally occurring probiotics in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
- Anthocyanin. This nutrient supports oral health by preventing the attachment of plaque and fighting oral cancer. Cherries, berries, grapes, and eggplants are wonderful sources of anthocyanins.
- Arginine. This amino acid is similar to anthocyanins in that it may help reduce cavities by disrupting the formation of plaque. Find it in meat and nuts.
- Polyphenols. Help prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath by consuming polyphenols. These little compounds scrub your teeth and slow the growth of cavity-causing plaque. Drink plenty of black and green tea, and also eat more berries, cocoa, and flaxseed.