Most of us know how important it is to take good care of our teeth by brushing and flossing every day, but you may not know that what you eat and drink also plays a vital role in good oral health. Here are five types of food and beverages that can make a positive contribution to the health of your teeth and gums:
- Water – When it comes to keeping your body hydrated, as well as washing away any leftover food particles inside your mouth, nothing is as effective as water. If you live in a city with fluoridated water, that’s even better since fluoride is an effective cavity-fighting mineral. But whether you drink fluoridated water or not, it’s important to keep your body – and that includes your gums – hydrated. So skip the sodas and energy drinks, many of which contain cavity-producing sugar and enamel-damaging acid, and opt instead for water.
- Dairy – You probably already know that the calcium in milk is good for your bones and teeth. But other dairy products are extremely beneficial as well. Recent studies have shown that cheese increases the pH level inside the mouth and decreases the risk of cavities forming. And the protein and calcium contained in cheese actually strengthens the enamel layer of your teeth. Yogurt is another good option since it not only provides the needed protein and calcium; the probiotics in yogurt promote the growth of good bacteria that helps to fight off cavity-producing bad bacteria. If you’re concerned about the fat content in dairy products, remember that low-fat options produce similar results.
- Vegetables – Leafy greens in particular are excellent choices for good oral health. They contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including teeth-strengthening calcium. The folic acid that comes with leafy greens has actually been shown to be an effective treatment for gum disease. Celery and carrots are other good vegetable choices. Both are crunchy, which helps to clean the surface of your teeth as you chew. And carrots increase the production of saliva inside the mouth, which is crucial in maintaining proper pH levels and washing away food particles. The vitamin A contained in both celery and carrots, and the vitamin C provided by celery, are both tasty and excellent ways to give your gums a healthy boost.
- Fruit – Part of any balanced, healthy diet includes a variety of fruit. When it comes to promoting good oral health, apples are one of the best choices you can make. The crunchy nature of apples helps to clean your teeth and increase saliva production inside the mouth. Because apples are sweet, they can also be a healthy way to stave off sugar cravings. Include a variety of fresh fruits in your daily diet, but be careful not to over-indulge in citrus since the acid contained in those fruits can damage tooth enamel, and stay away from fruit juices that contain sugar.
- Nuts – A variety of nuts is another healthy addition to your diet. Almonds in particular are great for your oral health since they provide a good dose of calcium and protein – both of which are vital to healthy teeth and gums.
Enjoying a diet of fresh foods each and every day can make a huge contribution to your overall health and your oral health as well. And, of course, remember to brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and visit your dentist twice a year for oral exams and cleanings.