Dieting isn’t just to promote weight loss and body health; food choice plays a major part in developing a beautiful and healthy smile. Most everyone understands that eating foods high in sugar is terrible for your teeth, but beyond that, what other foods impact dental care? Generally, you should avoid candy, alcohol, coffee, citrus, dried fruits, crunchy carbs, and sugary beverages if you want to have a white smile. It is also best to avoid cling-on foods that try to latch onto your teeth. These foods tend to cause the most tooth decay and yellowing. When paired with a lack of oral hygiene, these diets can lead to an unattractive smile.
Dentists agree—eating the wrong foods can lead to a yellow, unhealthy smile. But if these are the foods not to eat, then what are the foods you should eat? Don’t waste too much time wondering–Below are 5 Natural Foods that Promote Healthy Teeth. Bon Appetit!
1. Fluoride-Rich Foods
Fluoride is a popular toothpaste ingredient for a reason. This mineral is known to strengthen teeth and prevent the spread of cavities. Coffee, raisins, table wine, shrimp, crab, soda, grape juice, and certain teas brewed with tap water will contain fluoride. However, it is recommended that you consume these products in small doses; drinks like coffee and soda can stain the teeth or even lead to tooth decay.
Some more healthy foods with fluoride include pickles, cucumbers, dill herbs, beans and peas, white rice, and potatoes. Fruits and vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, oranges, and grapefruits are also good sources of fluoride and other nutrients. Talk to your dentist about products and fluoride-rich foods they recommend as well.
2. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens include foods like spinach, lettuce, and arugula. Green vegetables like these are full of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy mouth, from the gums to the tongue and teeth. Leafy greens help your teeth as they also tend to be low in sugar and in calories. The folic acid in greens will help create strong, healthy gums, which reduces mouth sores and loose teeth. Not only are they full of low-calorie nutrients, but they also fortify your tooth enamel even as they help you lose weight.
The tooth enamel protects your teeth from the wear and tear of daily chewing, biting, and grinding, so eating leafy greens actually helps strengthen your teeth to eat other types of foods as well! Most leafy greens can serve as a basis for a healthy salad or a supplement to a smoothie, and you can easily pair them with some of the other foods on this list as well.
3. Black Tea and Green Tea
Studies have found that certain teas contain compounds that slow down bacteria growth. For instance, drinking tea can limit the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Green tea boosts dental health by reducing oral bacteria and lowering your chance of developing oral cancer. While green tea brings a lot of health benefits, black tea is particularly good for the teeth.
Black tea is shown to be effective in fighting halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath. Black tea also helps prevent tooth decay, as it is rich in polyphenols, which decrease cavity-causing bacteria. However, you should remember to clean your teeth and rinse out your mouth after drinking it—black tea can stain your teeth, even as it’s helping your oral health.
Remember when drinking tea, that sugars are still bad for your teeth regardless! Skip on the sweeteners, even natural ones like honey, if you want the best benefits from your tea. Other than that, though, drink up!
4. Dairy Products
Everyone knows that dairy products are full of calcium, the building block of strong bones, but they are also sources of protein, which helps to strengthen your teeth, especially tooth enamel. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are great for providing the protein, nutrients, and calcium that teeth need to remain strong. Eating cheese, in particular, works to lower the levels of acidity in your mouth. This lowers the plaque acidity in your mouth, preventing unhealthy buildup, which makes brushing your teeth easier.
One reason dairy especially helps strengthen your enamel and fights decay is that, in addition to calcium, dairy contains a protein called “casein,” which strengthens your teeth even as it boosts metabolism and muscle gain. Dairy also helps support overall bone growth and reduces blood pressure. Talk about a win-win!
5. Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
Foods that are heavy in fiber will help your body maintain clean teeth and gums. Fiber encourages saliva flow, which will help to clean up the mouth and reduces the effects of acids and enzymes on your teeth. Great fiber foods include apples, carrots, and celery. As an added bonus, fruits and vegetables high in fiber will also lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. They also help lower your risk of tooth loss, jaw bone erosion, and gum recession.
Adding more fruits and vegetables in your diet will also help you cut down on the foods that are bad for your teeth, and will generally make you feel healthier and stronger. So don’t feel that a healthy smile means you need to starve yourself—in fact, your teeth will be happy if you provide them with more of the right nutrients!
Maintaining Oral Hygiene
As important as the right foods are, remember that none of these foods will replace your need to visit the dentist or to practice dental care. Instead, use these foods as a way to supplement your healthy diet and a radiant smile! Brush and floss regularly, and try to rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or even just water after meals. Keeping up with basic oral hygiene is the number one way to ensure that your teeth remain strong and healthy. Remember to generally avoid sugary foods, and try to replace unhealthy snacks with some of these healthier alternatives. These simple tips will help keep your teeth strong and healthy.
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