Having a consistent, healthy diet, is good for your body AND for your smile. Many people don’t realize how important their food is for their teeth. Just like unhealthy food can cause your enamel to wear away and stains to occur, healthy foods can keep your teeth strong and can even make them whiter.
Some of the best foods for healthy teeth may come as a surprise. These foods are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet and make the effects of your good oral hygiene that much more effective. Other than maintaining your teeth by brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist twice each year, adding these nutritious bites will make a huge difference in the health of your teeth.
Enjoy Calcium-Filled Dairy Products
Cheese - If you're one of the many people who profess a love of cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. For one, it is low in sugar and high in calcium and protein, but that’s not all. Cheese is also an essential part of a healthy diet because it contains casein, which is a protein that is particularly useful for fortifying the tooth enamel. An American Academy of General Dentistry study published in the May/June 2013 found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects' mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay.
Yogurt - Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. Yogurt is a tasty treat that also contains something called phosphates, which actually work to remineralize teeth. If you decide to add more yogurt to your diet, choose a plain variety with no added sugar and top it off with some fresh fruit.
Eat Your Leafy Greens
It turns out the Popeye was right – eating leafy greens, such as spinach and kale helps promote oral health. They're full of vitamins and minerals and are high in calcium, which builds your tooth's enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits. In addition to vitamins, eating leafy greens gives you a boost of antioxidants. These substances remove damaging oxidizing agents from your body. The benefits of antioxidants extend to healthy teeth and gums too. If you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad, throw some kale on a pizza, or try adding some greens to a smoothie.
Use Natural Scrubbers
While the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends steering clear of most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples and pears, might be sweet, but they're also high in fiber and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of these fruits also stimulates the gums. Eating an apple isn't the same as brushing your teeth, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush. Pack some apple slices in your lunch to give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.
Crunchy vegetables, like carrots and celery might get a bad reputation for being bland, but they act a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. They’re also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Having a hard time eating these crunchy fruits and vegetables with braces? Remember to cut them up into bite-size pieces to keep your braces safe.
Think Before You Drink
Along with adding more leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, pay attention to what you're drinking. Soda and sports drinks are bad news for your teeth, and NOT recommended particularly while you’re in braces. Some all-natural fruit juices are also loaded with sugar and acid as well. Sugary drinks contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eventually these acids can cause tooth enamel to break down, forming a cavity. Consider milk or water instead. Milk offers protein and almost half of your daily calcium.
Taking the time to think through what you’re eating every day is really important for both your oral and overall health. You may already eat some of these great foods for your teeth, but it doesn't hurt to add all of them to your diet and create the healthiest smile ever. If you're still not sure what to eat while you have braces, just ask. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics is here to help!