Did you know that your oral health is not just dependent on brushing? In fact, what you eat can have just as much of an effect on your teeth as what you do after eating. It’s a good practice to choose a good toothpaste; it’s just as important to choose what and how you eat.
There are some obvious things to stay away from, things your dentist has warned you about your whole life. Sugary drinks like soda and juice, hard and chewy candy, and other acidic foods lead to cavities and a host of other dental issues. Drinks like wine and coffee stain your teeth, and crackers and popcorn kernels can take ages to come out. We know, we know…maintaining good oral health doesn’t sound fun at all.
We’ll do you one better though. The truth is any food can cause decay and other issues unless you exercise proper oral care.
Foods that are bad for your teeth are such because they attack enamel. Enamel acts as the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and the decay they bring in their wake. Acidic foods, if not consumed in moderation, can do remarkable damage to this protective layering. This happens as a result of plaque buildup; and if there is no enamel to fight it, the tooth quickly becomes susceptible to decay.
Thankfully, when coupled with proper oral care, there are some foods that prove very beneficial to dental health. Due to the presence of specific vitamins (and the absence of sucrose), these foods promote strength, cleanliness, and resistance.
As far as “foods to eat” lists go, cheese usually isn’t in the lineup. However, dairy has a unique capability of drastically lowering levels of acidity in the mouth. Cheese seems to work particularly well for this, though milk has also shown positive effects.
Some properties of dairy such as cheese that make it so helpful around the mouth are its high amounts of protein and calcium. Teeth, though technically not a bone, share similar qualities, one of them being a love affair with calcium. Protein, in turn, also helps build up tooth strength.
Many kinds of cheese also contain high amounts of phosphorus, which is not only the second most common mineral in the body but 85% of it is found in bones and teeth. Other phosphorus rich foods – such as meat, eggs, and fish – are good for the teeth in this respect.
Though most renowned for preventing urinary tract infections, cranberries have a host of health benefits. Among these include protecting tooth enamel. Cranberries contain polyphenols, chemical compounds which not only give these berries their vibrant color but prevent plaque from sticking to teeth.
This validates the argument for cranberries as a healthy and worthy snack, but there is a catch. Being that the fruit is naturally so tart, many cranberry products have had a lot of sugar added by the time they reach you. In the name of flavor, a lot of the good cranberries can do for your teeth may be undone. So make sure to eat your cranberries tart, for your teeth.
Other beneficial properties of cranberries are its high calcium content and dietary fiber. They are also antioxidant powerhouses.
When finding foods that are good for your teeth, you want to look at two characteristics: what vitamins does it have, and how much saliva will it generate. Most of our mouths don’t figuratively water for a nice clump of spinach, but literally, it’s a wash.
Spinach is a great source of Vitamin A, which is good but doesn’t necessarily mean much for teeth. It is, however, also a good source of calcium and Vitamin C. The real power in this superfood, for our purposes, is in its chewability. As you chew spinach, you generate saliva which helps wash out your mouth. Also, the little bits of leafy green actually help scrub away bacteria that would otherwise turn into plaque.
Both ways you look at it, spinach is a helpful and amazing food for your teeth.