10 Foods That Have Oral Health Benefits
You have probably heard of eating certain foods to get your vitamins and minerals. You may even know which foods have healthy fats and which do not. Did you know that certain foods can support good oral health?
Read our dentist‘s article about eating the following ten types of food that are important for oral health as well as your general health.
Top 10 Foods for Oral Health
Dairy products are some of the best for oral health. They have two main natural occurring benefits. Dairy products are low in sugar and high in calcium. Like many of the bones in our body, our teeth need calcium.
Chocolate and flavored milks however are not great for your teeth. While they have calcium, they also have added sugar. Added sugars promote plaque and tooth decay.
Cheese has casein which is a protein that fortifies tooth enamel. The enamel of our teeth protects them so anything that makes it stronger is a good thing.
Drinking milk also helps reduce the acid in your mouth. With less acid, you are protecting your enamel from the corrosive effect of acid.
Lastly, yogurt has probiotics which help your body fight off cavities and gum disease.
2. Crunchy Veggies
Crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery have a lot of fiber and require chewing. These vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals that help your teeth and your body.
The cooked version loses some of its benefits as it is not crunchy and therefore does not require as much chewing. The chewing required to eat raw crunchy vegetables stimulates the creation of saliva which mitigates the effects of acid in your mouth.
In addition, the roughness of the vegetables acts like a dog greenie. The fibers rub away plaque and other foods that may be stuck to your teeth.
Great crunchy vegetables include:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Peas and Beans
- Water Chestnuts
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are full of good vitamins and minerals that promote good health. Dark green leafy greens also have a lot of calcium which helps your bones and teeth stay strong.
Here are some of the best:
- Collard greens
- Beet Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Bok Choy
- Turnip Greens
4. Apples and Pears
Apples, pears, and other fruits with a lot of fiber are also helpful for your teeth. They provide a multitude of vitamins, and they also have fiber that helps your teeth stay clean while you are chewing. Like crunchy vegetables, crisp and firm fruit also requires extra chewing which stimulates saliva.
Nuts are another great food for your teeth. They provided calcium, protein, and phosphorus. From the fiber to the vitamins and protein, nuts are a great snack to help keep your teeth strong.
Almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts can help fight tooth decay.
Chewing nuts also stimulates saliva. When eating nuts, to get the most benefit chew and chew well.
Meats provide a number of benefits from protein to minerals that are important for our bodies. Red meats are especially beneficial but poultry and pork are also healthy.
The biggest benefit that meats provide is the amount of chewing required to eat them. To get the best benefit, chew your food well. The more you chew, the more saliva your mouth will produce and that saliva will wash away acid and food particles.
Fish, like meat, have very useful proteins and minerals. Many types of fish also have phosphorus, which is beneficial. Tofu also has phosphorus.
Foods (Fish and Meats) With Phosphorus
- Soy beans
- Pumpkin and squash seeds
- Sunflower seeds
8. Vitamin C and Polyphenols
Fruits that have Vitamin C or Polyphenols are also good for your teeth. Cranberries and raisins both have antioxidant properties because of their polyphenols. Sugar free versions are better than those with sugar. If you cannot avoid added sugar, try for natural sugars, such as cranberries sweetened by apple juice.
Strawberries and other fruits with vitamin C also have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants support the growth and repair of tissue in your body, including your gums.
Other fruits with Vitamin C:
- Chili peppers
- Black Currants
9. Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Romanesco
Broccoli, cauliflower, and Romanesco are all natural teeth cleaners. These three crunchy vegetables are full of fiber and have natural brush-like parts. Small pieces can still get caught in your teeth, so they don’t replace brushing teeth, but they do help prevent plaque build-up during the day.
All three of these delicious vegetables also have Vitamin C and Vitamin K in large quantities. Both of these vitamins promote healthy teeth.
10. Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions might not be the first thing you think of when you think of oral health. However, they both have allicin which has antimicrobial properties. In other words, eating garlic and onion helps you fight tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Foods That Are Harmful to Your Teeth
Here are some foods to avoid if you want to protect your teeth.
Sour candies promote the production of acid in your mouth. Acid will break down your enamel and damage your teeth. In addition, these candies also have sugar which can cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Candy is full of sugar, and sugar is not good for your teeth. You can eat candy in small amounts, but it is important to brush your teeth well. Chewing candies will promote the creation of saliva, but they also can create acid.
Alcohol is also sugar that can and will damage your teeth. Also, some alcohols promote the creation of acid. Lastly, alcohol dries out your mouth which prevents the creation of saliva, which washes away food particles.
Carbonated beverages are full of sugars. Even diet sodas will damage your teeth. In addition, soda and pop dries out your mouth.
Dried Fruits with Added Sugars
Fruit is sugary enough without drying it out. Dried fruit is concentrated sugar, and additional sugar is usually added.
Have More Questions About Foods with Oral Health Benefits? Let Our Dentist Know
These ten food groups help promote healthy teeth. However, it is still important to floss and brush your teeth. Just like with the rest of your body, a balanced diet can help prevent oral health problems.
If you have more questions about foods with oral health benefits, be sure to let our dentist know during your next visit.
Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.