When it comes down to it, no food is harmless for your teeth. All foods introduce new bacteria into your mouth that can damage your enamel and cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Of course, we all need to eat. That’s why we have toothbrushes and mouthwash to use after we eat to help prevent cavities and clear the gunk from our pearly whites.
We all know that sugary foods like candy and soda are harmful to our teeth. If maintaining your dental health is important, then you should limit the number of sugary foods in your diet that can cause unwanted stains, yellowing, and discoloration.
This raises the question: Are there any foods that are good for your teeth? In this article, our experts compiled the best food for your teeth to keep your pearly whites shining brightly.
Who knew dairy could be so good for your teeth? Yogurt and many other dairy products are hugely beneficial for your dental health. Since they are a primary dietary source of calcium, they help strengthen tooth enamel. Calcium is already well-known for playing a key role in the maintenance of proper oral hygiene.
Much like your bones, calcium is a building block for your teeth. Choosing foods rich in calcium, like yogurt and Greek yogurt, helps keep those building blocks strong.
Spinach is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and is a good food to include in your diet in general. Spinach is beneficial for your teeth and gums. It is packed with folic acid and vitamin B that have been shown to help treat gum disease in pregnant women.
Like all leafy greens, spinach is chewy which making eating it kind of like scrubbing down your teeth. Chewing spinach promotes saliva production which helps to wash your teeth with the spinach itself. Just be sure none of the spinach gets stuck in your teeth!
Chewing gum is great for your teeth. Since it boosts the production of saliva, it helps wash away many of the harmful bacteria that are left in your mouth from the food you ate earlier. The most natural way to clean your teeth is with your own saliva, so chewing gum should be a no-brainer.
However, we recommend that you chew sugar-free and mint-flavored gum. As mentioned earlier, sugar is harmful to the health of your teeth, and mint flavors do not have the negative side effects that some fruity gums do. Studies have found that fruity gum contains acids that can wear down your enamel, so be sure to steer clear of them.
If you have eaten celery before, then you know why it has gained the nickname “nature’s floss.” All the small, stringy fibers that makeup celery are hugely beneficial for your oral health. Not only is celery made up of mostly water—meaning it will not have harmful acids—but it works to eliminate some plaque buildup.
Combine the awesome teeth brushing aspect of celery with the fact that it is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, your teeth and gums will be thanking you.
Cheese lovers rejoice! Cheese is a great dairy choice for tooth health. Since it is rich in calcium, like yogurt, cheese is great for strengthening your enamel. It also contains a type of protein called casein. The calcium and caseins in cheese help to stabilize and repair tooth enamel.
Cheese can also help to balance out the acids in your mouth. A study focusing on teens that ate cheddar cheese had lower levels of acidity in their mouths than teens that did not eat cheddar cheese. Lower levels of acid and balanced acids mean that the teens had a reduced risk for tooth decay and an overall better tooth health outlook.
Biting into hard cheeses increases your saliva production, helping to wash away some of the harmful bacteria in your mouth. More specifically, biting into old, hard cheese can help to balance plaque acid. Overall, cheese is a great food choice if you are concerned about tooth health.
Sugary and acidic foods should be avoided as a rule, but there are always exceptions to the rule. One exception is apples. This is because apples are fibrous and contain a lot of water. This not only stimulates your gums, but it increases your body’s natural production of saliva, washing away those harmful bacteria and bits of food.
Plus, biting into a crunchy apple can help break up some plaque, leaving you with a cleaner-feeling mouth. Of course, nothing beats a toothbrush, but in a pinch, an apple can suffice for a few hours.
This one seems intuitive but drinking enough water should not be overlooked. Water helps to wash away small particles of food that linger after you eat. It also keeps you hydrated which means you will have plenty of saliva to protect your teeth from tooth decay.
Better still, most tap water in the U.S. is fortified with fluoride, giving you the best possible protection against cavities and tooth decay. Drink tap water during and after your meals to maintain a healthy, radiant smile.
Although tea can sometimes stain your teeth, they contain a class of nutrients called polyphenols. Polyphenols work with your saliva to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth. In fact, one study found that people that included a black tea mouth rinse in their daily routine had less plaque buildup than those that rinsed with only water.
We recommend black or green tea as they have the highest levels of polyphenols. But try not to add sugar or honey to your tea, since the sweetness can cancel out the benefits of the tea.
Not only are nuts delicious, but they are nutritious too. Cashew nuts are good for your teeth as they contain good fats and lots of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus strengthen your enamel while the good fats in cashews revitalize your gums.
Nothing Beats Brushing
All these foods are good for your teeth, but nothing can really beat getting back to the basics. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and schedule regular cleanings and checkups with your local dentist and dental hygienist.