Did you know that brushing and flossing your teeth aren’t the only things that contribute to oral health? Nutrition and eating habits have just as much of an effect on your pearly whites- but are often forgotten when discussing oral hygiene. Maintaining a nutrient dense diet and healthy snacking habits are key to a healthy smile.
What foods you should be eating
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have a high nutritional value, meaning they are great for your health in more ways than one. However, they are particularly beneficial to your oral health. Vitamin C is very high in most fruits and vegetables, which helps protect your gums from bacterial infection. If you are looking to include more fruit and vegetables in your diet, here are some of the most recommended by experts:
- Crisp fruits and veggies such as apples, celery, and carrots are great at cleaning plaque from your teeth and freshening your breath.
- Leafy greens are rich in folic acid and calcium, which are important vitamins and minerals for your gum health.
- Apples and pears are great to eat for healthy teeth. While an apple a day may not keep the doctor away, it does increase salivation. This may sound like something you don’t want, but increased salivation neutralizes certain acids left behind in your mouth. This decreases decay and cavity-causing bacteria. Pears also possess this quality, making them a good staple to include in your oral health diet.
Nuts are packed to the brim with important vitamins such as calcium and phosphorous. Almonds and Brazil nuts possess particularly high amounts, making them great for your oral health. Peanuts are a great source of vitamin D, and cashews actually stimulate saliva in a similar way to apples and pears. Walnuts are probably the most beneficial for your teeth and gums, containing large amounts of fiber, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and vitamin E.
Cheese, milk, and yoghurt are some of the best foods you can be ingesting for your teeth and gums. High in calcium and low in sugar, they play a vital role in increasing bone density. They also contain casein, which is beneficial to fortifying tooth enamel. Dairy products also lower acid levels in your mouth, further fighting decay and cavities.
Yoghurt in particular is fantastic for your teeth and gums since it contains large amounts of probiotics. These protect your mouth from cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. If you don’t currently include yoghurt in your diet, research highly recommends you do.
While there is nothing wrong with snacking, it can negatively impact your teeth. When you are constantly eating throughout the day you are introducing acids into your mouth. This can increase tooth decay and gum disease. Try to eat larger main meals and brush thoroughly after to limit the food particles in your mouth. If you do snack, try to lean towards smarter snacks such as fruit and nuts. Sugary treats may taste great, but they are not great for your oral health. If you do snack throughout the day and are not able to brush your teeth frequently, rinse your mouth out with water to get rid of any leftover food.
If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health, contact your regular dentist or GP. It’s always easier to maintain health and prevent decay than it is to fix a damaged smile!