Did you know that what you eat can either positively or negatively impact your oral health? Even if you brush and floss regularly and stick with your regular dental cleanings, the foods you eat day-to-day may still harm your mouth enough to create dental problems like cavities, tooth sensitivity, gum disease, and teeth stains.
How Does Nutrition Affect Oral Health?
While it probably goes without saying that sugary foods and drinks can cause you to suffer from tooth decay, simply cutting out sugar will not ward off every dental issue you may face. In fact, if your diet lacks nutritious foods, you may eventually lose your teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease). This is because patients who eat nutrient-poor diets are more susceptible to infections of the mouth. But a nutrient-dense diet can help ward off infection and strengthen your chompers because healthy saliva provides the minerals needed to keep your teeth and gums healthy. So, a more balanced diet that contains healthy foods can increase the presence of healthier, less acidic saliva.
The American Dental Association recommends eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods from the food pyramid to ensure that your teeth and gums stay in top-top shape. Here are just some of the best foods you should eat to keep your mouth healthy.
6 Best Foods That Boost Oral Health
1) Gobble Leafy Greens
Leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and collard greens are filled with vitamins and minerals our bodies and mouths need such as calcium and folic acid. These nutrients can strengthen tooth enamel and promote healthy gums. Try incorporating leafy greens into your next pasta dinner, on a pizza or even a morning smoothie if salads get boring.
2) Chomp on Carrots
Carrots are high in water content and fiber, both of which can be great for your teeth and gums. The water in carrots can actually help clean your teeth, and stimulate healthy saliva production. Try eating some fresh, raw carrots after your next meal to help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
3) Chew on Celery
Like carrots and other vegetables, celery is filled with water! The fibers in celery can also mimic a toothbrush which can help clear away particles from between your teeth after you eat (just don’t use celery in place of your actual toothbrush!). Because celery is also filled with vitamins A and C, your gums are sure to benefit from their antioxidant properties. Try adding diced celery to a salad, or chew on some small pieces after dinner to wash away bacteria.
4) Eat an Apple a Day
Sure, apples may contain natural sugars, but they can still be good for your teeth and body as a whole. Much like crunchy vegetables, eating apples can produce healthy saliva. So if you like the taste of apples more than carrots or celery, add some apple slices to your next meal for a sweet, nutritious side dish that will boost oral health.
5) Nosh on Lean Protein and Nuts
Lean proteins such as pork chops, chicken breasts, salmon and eggs contain phosphorus, a nutrient that helps strengthen teeth. Certain nuts such as almonds also contain high levels of protein and other minerals like calcium, which also promotes healthy teeth and bones.
6) If Your Diet Allows, Eat Dairy
If you are a cheese or dairy lover, then you will love this oral health-boosting food option! If you do not have a dairy allergy, try eating cheese, yogurt and milk. Dairy products are filled with calcium and contain protein that is good for strengthening your teeth, lowering your risk for tooth decay, and increasing healthy saliva production.
Remember: These suggestions are to be used as general guidelines and you SHOULD NOT eat foods that your doctor has ordered you not to eat especially if you have a food allergy.
Boost Your Oral Health with Professional Teeth Cleanings and Dental Exams
While eating healthy foods can certainly boost your oral health, it’s also important to schedule regular teeth cleanings and dental exams with our skilled Clintonville, Ohio dentists. If you’re overdue for a cleaning, contact Capstone Dental today so we can help you keep your smile healthy for a lifetime!