We all know that some foods are bad for our teeth: soda, candy, and ice, for example. While avoiding these foods is critical to dental health, it’s also wise to get acquainted with the foods that are good for your teeth, and eat more of those. Fortunately, there are dozens of tooth-healthy food options out there. You just have to know which ones to choose.
In this post, we’ll cover a few of our favorite tooth-boosting snacks and meals. Let’s dive in.
6 Foods That Strengthen Your Teeth
You are what you eat. That’s as true for your teeth as it is anything else. To boost the health and wellbeing of your teeth, incorporate these delicious, flavorful foods into your diet more regularly:
Cheese lovers, rejoice! It’s one of the top foods dentists recommend eating for good dental health.
According to a study published in a 2013 issue of General Dentistry, eating cheese boosts the pH of your mouth, thus lowering the risk of dental decay. Additionally, chewing cheese increases saliva production, thereby coating and protecting teeth and restoring balance to the dental environment. Finally, cheese contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.
With that in mind, grab a slice of cheddar next time you need a tasty, mouth-healthy snack.
Crunchy, nutritious, and delicious – oh my! Carrots are a great snack as far as your oral health is concerned. Chock-full of fiber and vitamin A, carrots increase your mouth’s natural saliva levels, thus reducing your risk of cavities. Additionally, the texture and crunch of carrots can give teeth a light cleaning, serving to wipe away bacteria and plaque buildup.
Almonds are a heart-healthy snack, but they’re also great for your teeth. A great source of protein and enamel-boosting calcium, almonds are low in sugar and nutritious to boot. Add a few sliced almonds to a stir-fry or salad, or eat a handful of raw, unsalted almonds next time you need a mid-afternoon blood sugar boost.
Yogurt, like cheese, is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Because of this, it’s a great choice for anyone who wants a stronger, healthier, cleaner teeth. Additionally, yogurt contains naturally-occurring probiotics, which balance the bacteria levels in the mouth, banish cavity-causing bacteria, and restore healthy oral pH. If you decide to eat more yogurt, be sure you’re opting for protein-dense Greek yogurt varieties with no added sugar.
5. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are great for everything from your heart to your digestive system. So is it any surprise that they’re excellent for your teeth, as well? Packed with minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, while also being low in calories, leafy greens contain calcium to build tooth enamel, folic acid, and B vitamins that can reduce your risk of dental disease and bacteria buildup. If you have trouble getting enough leafy greens in your diet, consider adding a handful to a stir-fry, smoothie, or your lunchtime sandwich.
Celery might taste a little less exciting than yogurt or cheese, but it’s great for your chompers. Like carrots, apples, and other crunchy fruits and veggies, it acts as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing the teeth and removing bacteria and plaque buildup. Celery is also a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, as well as fiber. Top your celery with cream cheese or almond butter for an extra nutrient-dense snack.
Eating for Your Dental Health
Just like you can eat to lower your blood pressure, decrease blood sugar spikes, or build muscle, you can eat to promote strong, healthy teeth. Here are a few tips from the American Dental Association to do just that:
- “Drink plenty of water
- Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:
- whole grains
- lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas, and other legumes
- low-fat and fat-free dairy foods
- Limit the number of snacks you eat.
- If you do snack, choose something healthy like fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities.”
In addition to following the tips above, it’s also essential to keep your dental habits up to snuff. This means brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Look for a toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. To keep teeth healthy and prevent plaque buildup, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly – at least twice a year, or more frequently if you have particular dental concerns.
Finally, keep your teeth healthy by being mindful of what you eat. Foods with high sugar content contribute to dental decay and other dental conditions. To limit your sugar intake, start reading the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on the foods you consume. Be mindful of sneaky sources of sugar – like beverages, fruit juices, and whole fruits. Stay away from distinct sources of processed sugar, like candy and soft drinks.
If you do have a sweet snack, be sure to flush your mouth with water immediately afterward, and to brush your teeth as quickly as possible. This will limit the amount of time the sugar has to impact your teeth and wash away any residue that could contribute to dental decay. Even if you brush your teeth immediately afterward, avoiding sugar is still the best bet to keep your mouth healthy.
Building Strong Teeth Doesn’t Have to be Hard
If you want to boost your oral health and experience less frequent trips to the dentist, start by evaluating your diet. Even a few simple changes can go a long way toward improving your dental health and creating better outcomes for your teeth. Your dentist and your mouth will thank you.
Concerned about your dental health? Overdue for your check-up? Give our team a call today to book your annual cleaning!
Dr. Felicity is a National Board Certified Dentist and a Longtime resident of Charleston.