Let’s open the fridge to find out the connection between what we eat and our oral health.
Concerning your oral care routine, are you an avid brusher, flosser, and mouthwash swisher? If you answered ‘Yes’ then that’s fantastic! You are to be commended for maintaining an important daily ritual for overall health.
As someone concerned with optimal tooth shine, do you want to know how you can bump your smile up to the next level?
Here’s a clue - “you are what you eat”.
Did you guess it?... Yes, by eating certain foods you can enhance the health of your teeth, fight off nasty disease-causing bacteria, and help them shine as never before.
How Can Food Improve Our Oral Health?
There is a strong connection between what we eat and our oral health. In recent years a growing body of research is finding that certain foods can help prevent cavities, freshen breath, and even whiten teeth.
It’s a well-known fact that our bodies need certain nutrients and minerals to aid different systems - think calcium for strong bones or iron to lower blood pressure. Our teeth and mouths are no exception.
There are specific nutrients and minerals that help our teeth and gums. So let’s now take a closer look at these teeth enriching elements and the sources for them in whole foods.
Foods Rich in Calcium & Phosphorus:
Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth made up of minerals. Food and beverages high in sugar and acid may cause the enamel to erode over time. To keep enamel strong we need to put minerals back into the tooth and restore what was lost. Research has shown that calcium and phosphorus are the best helpers for building and maintaining strong tooth enamel.
Eating food rich in these will keep our teeth to be strong and healthy.
Best food sources - cheese, milk, yogurt, seafood, tofu, and almonds.
Phosphorus-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, fish, brazil nuts, red meat, eggs, tofu, and broth.
Firm Crunchy Foods High in Water:
Saliva is the best way to neutralize the bacteria that causes cavities. When we chew we produce more saliva. Eating firm crunchy foods high in water will increase saliva production. In addition, the texture of these foods serves as a cleaning mechanism, and in effect, the chewing motion gently removes and clears away dental plaque and food particles.
Best food sources - celery, apples, cucumbers, and carrots (all raw).
Foods Rich in Vitamin D:
Vitamin D has a whole list of health benefits. The main reason it is credited with maintaining healthy teeth is that it aids the absorption of calcium.
Best food sources - The sun is the best source of natural vitamin D (Sorry you can’t eat it, but you can step outside and allow that delicious sun to absorb into your skin), fish, egg yolks, and cod liver oil.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C:
When it comes to our teeth, vitamin C (aka ‘vitamin powerhouse’) can strengthen blood vessels, and reduce inflammation helping our gums to stay healthier.
Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is needed to fight periodontal disease.
Best food sources - oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants:
If nutrients where celebrities then antioxidants would have an A-list status. Antioxidants help protect gums and other tissues from bacterial infection and cell damage. This is because antioxidants fight the bacteria that cause inflammation and periodontal disease.
Best food sources - apples berries, grapes, tea, nuts, and beans.
Foods Containing Probiotics:
Our bodies have both good and bad bacteria. When we intentionally ingest good bacteria, we call them probiotics. There is emerging evidence that shows that probiotics may help decrease plaque and help gums stay healthy.
Best food sources - yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and other fermented foods.
So here it is oral health-care enthusiasts - the real secret to healthy teeth!
We have looked at how adding certain foods that contain important minerals and vitamins in our diet can help towards beautifully clean and shiny teeth.
Eating well in addition to brushing our teeth regularly is a surefire way to achieve this goal.
So next time it’s grocery day, how about adding a few of these plaque expelling, gum disease fighting foods to the shopping list.