Proper nutrition isn’t only healthy for your body, it is also healthy for your teeth and gums. A diet lacking in proper nutrients can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which can then lead to further health problems. Foods that are high in sugar can lead to plaque buildup and create cavities. While sugar is unavoidable completely, here are the healthiest fruits and vegetables for your oral health.
Tooth enamel is made up of minerals that deplete along with the erosion of the enamel. To counteract this, you need to add minerals back with your diet in order to restore what has been lost. Two very important minerals in this are calcium and phosphorous because they are the basis of enamel. The best sources of these minerals are:
- pumpkin seeds
Let’s take a minute to talk about the dairy items listed above in particular. Studies have found that eating cheese raises the pH in the mouth, lowering the risk of tooth decay. Similar to cheese, yogurt is high in minerals, and also contains probiotics. These beneficial bacteria benefit the gums because the healthy bacteria take place of the bad, cavity-creating bacteria. Probiotics can also help to decrease plaque. Some other great sources of probiotics are:
- fermented foods
Foods rich in vitamin D and vitamin C are great for promoting oral health. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb vitamin C, which is powerful in strengthening the blood vessels, which reduces inflammation in the gums. Vitamin C also helps to produce collagen, which is an important protein in the fight against periodontal disease. Vitamin C prevents gums from becoming sensitive and susceptible to disease-causing bacteria.
Leafy greens are well known to be on any healthy diet list. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as calcium, folic acid, and B vitamins. Leafy greens are also low in calories, sugars, and fat, so they do not wreak havoc on the system. Even adding just a bit of baby spinach to one meal a day or trying out a green smoothie can be beneficial to oral health.
It has been known that foods requiring a lot of chewing also create more saliva, which washes out the mouth. Crunchy carrots are healthy and also full of fiber. Consuming raw carrots after a meal increases your saliva production, reducing the risk of cavities.
Foods to Avoid
Avoiding certain foods is just as important as incorporating healthy foods into your diet. For optimal oral health, avoid:
- hard candies
- chewing ice
- excess citrus
- sticky foods
- sugary drinks
- potato chips
Eating foods that benefit not only your body, but also your mouth will make you feel great. It is important, however, to remember to continue to clean your teeth as recommended by a dentist. Don’t skip flossing and brushing just because you ate health-beneficial food all day. Particles, acids, and sugars remain on the teeth and need to be brushed and rinsed away regularly.
This guest post contribution was made by The Center for Dental Excellence. Dr. Stoddard and his team work hard to make visits pleasant and comfortable, making him one of the best dentists in Pocatello, ID.