Even though we use our teeth every single time we eat or drink, most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how what we eat impacts our teeth. If we do, it tends to be in relation to what is “bad” for us.
For example, you probably know that red wine and coffee are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to having stained teeth. Additionally, you’ve undoubtedly been told again and again that sugar is bad for your teeth. Or that acidic foods like soda and orange juice can eat away at your enamel. These “bad” foods can cause tooth decay and expose the inner layers of our teeth. If you are constantly eating candy, other foods with a lot of sugar, or acidic foods, you need to be extra vigilant to avoid cavities.
What about the other side of the equation, though? What kinds of things can we eat to protect our teeth and bolster oral health?
What to Eat to Improve Your Oral Health
Replace Sugar with Calcium. What are some good things to eat for the health of your teeth? When it doubt, reach for a food that is high in calcium. Calcium is known for promoting strong bones and health. It can keep your jawbone strong so your teeth have a solid base in your mouth.
This mineral is also crucial for promoting good dental hygiene and keeping teeth strong. Having the proper amount of calcium in your body can help to prevent both tooth and bone loss.
Consider grabbing these snacks if you’re looking for a calcium boost:
- Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens
If you find that you are not getting enough calcium in your diet (vegans and people who are lactose-intolerant tend to run into this problem), you can also grab calcium supplements at your local grocery store or drugstore.
Other vitamins and minerals that benefit oral hygiene include Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Phosphorus works with calcium to maximize its benefits.
Replace Soda with Water. Sugar isn’t just found in candy. If you are addicted to soda, you may also be wreaking havoc on your teeth. To prevent cavities, try and wean yourself off of sugary drinks in general and grab some milk or water.
Why those two? Milk gives you the dual benefit of being both high in calcium and low in sugar. Water may be even better. It can help you rinse after eating (a good option if you’re eating out and don’t have access to your toothbrush). It stimulates saliva production. It may contain fluoride, an ingredient that is crucial to strengthening teeth and preventing cavities.
These benefits are just the beginning. There are a whole host of ways that drinking water can improve your overall health, which is why doctors recommend drinking 64 ounces of water every single day.
Other Foods That Are Good For Your Teeth. We mentioned above that water stimulates saliva. Why does that matter? Because saliva is an important part of oral hygiene.
As you eat, saliva helps to rinse leftover foods and bacteria from your meal. After you eat, saliva keeps working to balance out the acids in your mouth that eat away at your enamel. Essentially, the presence of saliva helps to prevent tooth decay.
By drinking liquids like water, we create an environment where saliva can thrive and do its job in our mouth.
It goes beyond just water, though. Crunchy whole foods can also help to produce saliva. Consider packing one of these crunchy snacks in your lunch or adding them to your daily diet:
- Whole nuts
Maintain a Balanced Diet. Adding tooth-friendly foods to your diet helps to prevent tooth decay and promote strong, healthy teeth for years to come. You don’t have to just eat these foods, though.
Eating a balanced diet that includes these foods makes your teeth less susceptible to damage and decay when you do have a cup of coffee or indulge in a sugary snack – just make sure you only do it every once and a while.
Of course, simply eating tooth-friendly foods cannot replace the work you do by brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting the dentist for a cleaning. If you haven’t made an appointment to get your teeth cleaned in the past six months, contact a South Florida dentist and mark your calendar. A proper cleaning can help to get the spots that you’ve missed, and put you on the right track for maintaining your best smile.