You have likely been told (numerous times) that the major offenders of oral health is sugar and acid, which wreak havoc on your teeth and gums, causing a variety of dental issues. Our sister office on the north side of Pensacola recently wrote about the worst foods for your teeth. So, we thought we would make our own list of the foods and drinks that are actually beneficial for your mouth and teeth.
It is not surprising that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is healthy not only for your whole body, but your mouth in particular. Yet, there are certain food groups that rise above the rest because of their ability to fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and strengthen enamel.
Cheese, yogurt, milk, and almonds. All of these foods are rich with calcium and protein, which fortify your tooth enamel. These nutrients can actually help to remineralize your teeth where acid has caused damage. Just be careful when eating almonds in particular as they can be very hard and can cause breakage. Opt for sliced almonds instead to get all of the nutrients without the potential damage to your teeth.
Apples, carrots, and celery. These fruits and vegetables are extremely fibrous, meaning they act like scrubbers in your mouth when you chew. They can actually help clean food and plaque off of your teeth, so finishing your meal with crunchy produce is actually a great way to protect your teeth before you can get to brushing and flossing. In addition, the fact that they are very fibrous means that they require a lot of chewing, which stimulates saliva production. This neutralizes bacteria, as well as flushes things from the mouth, protecting against tooth decay and gum disease.
Leafy greens. Fibrous and loaded with vitamin C, leafy greens are one of the best foods you can eat for your mouth. The benefits of vitamin C cannot be overstated in terms of oral health. This nutrient alone can actually help to reverse gum disease and protect against oral cancer. It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body, which is particularly helpful for your mouth because inflammation indicates the beginning of gingivitis. Leafy greens are a great option when you want to get more vitamin C but don’t want to overdo your citrus intake because of the high acidity levels. There are so many easy ways to incorporate the most common leafy greens, spinach and kale, into your diet, and the benefits are overwhelming.
Tea (green and black), wine, and coffee. This trifecta is famous for causing discoloration on teeth – which we pointed out last month! – but it is the same stain-causing compound that can make these drinks mouth-healthy. Polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants, inhibit bacteria from accumulating on the enamel. There are ways to continue drinking these beverages to get the health benefits, while reducing their staining capabilities.
Most people know the main offenders in terms of foods and drinks to avoid when considering oral health, but if you really want to set yourself up for success, make sure that your diet is also full of vitamins and minerals to deliver the triple threat: fortifying your enamel, reducing gum inflammation, and preventing tooth decay by attacking bad bacteria.