Best Foods for Your Teeth & Oral Health
When it comes to dental health, many people assume that regular brushing and flossing coupled with occasional dental visits is enough. However, there are other factors that influence the health of your teeth and gums, like getting the right nutrition.
Considering the amount of work required for your teeth to prepare food for easy digestion, and the fact that there are different microbes in the mouth (some beneficial and others harmful), it is apparent that your mouth is exposed to great dangers that can adversely affect your health. For starters, hard and sugary foods increase the rate of demineralization of tooth enamel. For seconds, food debris, acids, and hard substances can injure both soft and hard tissues in the mouth.
Oral Health Requires Proper Nutrition
Like other parts of your body, the mouth needs proper nutrition to recover and fight infection. Some of the key nutrients needed include:
- Protein – Necessary for tooth structure formation, immune function, and connective tissue development
- Calcium – Promotes tooth enamel remineralization and tooth structure
- Phosphorus – Helps maintain tooth structure
- Iron, Zinc, Folate, Antioxidants – Boosts immune function and connective tissues
- Vitamin C – Immune function, Connective tissues, and collagen maturation, as well as maintaining the integrity of the periodontal ligament
- Vitamin A, B, D – Improve immune function, connective tissue, enhance remineralization
- Omega-3 Fats – modulates inflammatory response, boosts immune function, and connective tissues
Best Foods for Teeth & Oral Health
There are different foods that can provide you with these essential nutrients. Whole foods are generally good, as well as:
Beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, and other animal proteins are rich in phosphorus, which improves the function of calcium and vitamin D in developing strong teeth and bones
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are not only low in sugar and acidity, but also rich in calcium and phosphate that promote re-mineralization. Cheese is also known to balance the mouth pH, promote saliva secretion, and kill harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, and other vegetables are not only rich in vitamin A, but also clean the teeth and massage your gums when eaten raw. Different vegetables offer different extra benefits. For instance, celery is known to promote saliva secretion and neutralize harmful bacteria in the mouth, while onions contain antibacterial properties that kill harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Fresh, raw fruits are great for your teeth. They are packed with nutrients, have high moisture content that promotes saliva secretion for fighting against decay, and the crunchy ones help to clean teeth.
While you cannot completely limit the items you consume, it is important that you rinse your mouth with clean water after meals, or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow and remove food debris and bacteria from the teeth. This does not, however, mean that you should brush, floss, or visit the dentist less often.