Your dental health is vital to your overall health. Strong teeth are crucial so you can eat various foods, speak clearly, and have a healthy smile. Yet poor dental hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.
However, the food you eat also plays a role in dental health. Some foods can help keep your teeth healthy and strong, while others can contribute to tooth decay.
Dental Care and Diet
Your teeth are covered in a challenging outer layer of enamel. This protective layer can break down over time due to your eating and poor dental hygiene. When this happens, cavities can form.
To help prevent cavities and keep your teeth healthy, it’s essential to practice good dental hygiene. This includes the following habits:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day- It’s a common rule of thumb to brush your teeth after every meal. However, many people don’t have the time or access to water after every meal. If you brush at least twice a day, you’ll be removing plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities.
- Flossing daily- Flossing helps remove plaque and bacteria from areas between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.
- Eating a balanced diet- A healthy diet is vital for your overall health, including your teeth. Eating various foods from all the food groups can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Visiting the dentist regularly- Visiting a professional general dentist is vital to detect any problems early and to keep your teeth healthy.
Foods for the teeth
When it comes to dental health, most people focus on brushing and flossing as the critical components to a healthy smile. While these are important for preventing cavities and gum disease, what you also eat significantly impacts your oral health. Here are some of the best foods for maintaining healthy teeth.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for your overall health—including your teeth. Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables also helps to clean your teeth while you eat. Best bets include apples, carrots, celery, and pears.
Cheese is rich in calcium, which is essential for strong teeth. It also helps increase the pH in your mouth, making it less acidic—an environment conducive to cavities. In fact, studies have shown that people who regularly eat cheese have a lower risk of tooth decay.
Like cheese, yogurt contains high levels of calcium and probiotics—healthy bacteria that help keep harmful bacteria in check. Studies have shown that yogurt can help reduce plaque buildup and gingivitis. Choose brands that are low in sugar for the best dental benefits.
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are excellent sources of calcium and folic acid—both of which are necessary for healthy teeth and gums. These nutrient-rich greens also contain chlorophyll, which has been shown to help fight periodontal disease by reducing inflammation and bacteria growth in the mouth.
Nuts are a good source of phosphorus, which helps strengthen tooth enamel. They’re also packed with vitamins A and C, which are essential for maintaining oral health. In addition, nuts contain antioxidants that help protect your teeth from damage caused by free radicals. Be sure to choose nuts that are unsalted and unroasted for the best dental benefits.
Foods to avoid
Unfortunately, other foods can hurt your teeth. Here are some of the foods you should avoid if you want to keep your teeth healthy:
- Starchy foods- Starchy foods like bread, crackers, and chips can get stuck in your teeth and contribute to cavities. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Sugary foods- Foods high in sugar are one of the leading causes of cavities. When sugar comes into contact with your teeth, it creates an acidic environment that can damage your tooth enamel.
- Citrus fruits- While citrus fruits are a good source of Vitamin C, they’re also high in citric acid. This can contribute to tooth enamel erosion and cavities.
- Coffee- Coffee is a popular beverage, but it can also stain your teeth. If you do drink coffee, be sure to brush your teeth afterward to remove any lingering stains.
These foods should be added to any diet for optimal oral health; however, it’s still important to brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily to remove plaque buildup along the gum line where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Regular professional cleanings by a dentist or hygienist are also necessary to remove tartar deposits that can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. Add these habits to your routine along with consuming the above foods for unbeatable dental health!