Updated: Jan 19
While most patients understand that brushing, flossing and regular check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health, they might not be aware that proper nutrition can be just as important. If you want your teeth to remain strong and disease-free, then you need to make sure that you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals with your daily meals. By neglecting your diet and loading up on potentially harmful substances like sugars, starches and acids, you leave yourself vulnerable to pervasive periodontal issues that could eventually lead to tooth loss. However, there are a number of foods that can actually help to protect and strengthen your teeth. Here’s a list of some of the best.
A study from the American Academy of General Dentistry showed that people who regularly eat cheese report higher pH levels and a lower rate of tooth decay. According to researchers this is likely because the dairy product helps to increase saliva levels in the mouth while also providing the body with calcium and protein, both of which are integral to the development of your tooth structure and the surrounding connective tissue. Calcium is also helps to remineralize the enamel of your teeth.
2. Yogurt and Milk
Both of these staple foods contain minerals like calcium, phosphorus and caseins which are vital for the strengthening and protecting the teeth. Just like cheese, these dairy products will help fight off the build-up of bacteria around the gums. Yogurt and milk function prove particularly effective as a follow-up sugary treats as they neutralize any acidity in the oral environment.
Strangely enough the very ingredient that causes your dreaded garlic breath could play a key role in protecting you from gum disease and cavities. Garlic contains a substance called allicin, a strong anti-microbial agent which helps to prevent bacterial growth, fungi, and viruses. Garlic is also rich in probiotic fibers which support the immune system in your gut, a lack of fiber in the diet can weaken the gut lining causing all sorts of bacteria to leak into the blood stream. This will eventually lead to inflammation in the gums alongside a host of other health concerns.
4. Leafy Greens
This covers a number of foods from spinach and kale to parsley. These items are rich in calcium and folic acids (a form of vitamin B) which can help to strengthen the teeth and stave off gum disease. Herbs such as parsley are also loaded with anti-oxidants and anti-bacterial agents which provide benefits for your gums as well as your overall health. The best thing about greens is that you can add them to almost any meal with little fuss. Whether you’re eating rice or a burger you can always chop up some spinach for some extra color.
This might seem like a no-brainer to most readers, but water is important. If you make a habit to substitute this liquid for sugary sodas or coffee then think again. Now only does water help to keep your mouth hydrated and full of saliva which in turn keeps away bacteria and bad breath, it also serves to wash away trapped particles from your teeth and gums.
If you’re looking for a reliable between-meals snack then opt for this brightly colored vegetable. Crunching down on a carrot produces extra saliva in your mouth and reduces the incidence of calories. Carrots are also high in fiber which will help to keep your gut fiber in check. Meanwhile the keratin and vitamin A contained within the vegetable work as natural anti-bacterial agents fighting off plaque and other harmful substances.
Visit your dentist, Dr. Pallavi SInha, at i2m-Dental to know more during your scheduled check-up.