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Healthy Foods For a Healthy Smile

Oral hygiene is important for your overall well being. But did you know that a healthy smile goes beyond just brushing and flossing? Diet also plays a key role in oral health, and certain foods can be better or worse for your teeth. “You are what you eat” applies to your body and your teeth in equal measure! 

Taking care of your teeth is an important part of preventing oral diseases and other major health issues. That’s why we created this list of foods which are healthiest for your teeth. Sink your teeth into this article and learn more about how to keep your pearly whites healthy!

The Link Between Diet and Oral Health 

A healthy diet is a fundamental pillar of maintaining your overall and dental health. A nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet may help prevent two of the most common oral diseases today: gum disease and tooth decay.

Despite the fact that prevention should begin in childhood, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) states that 60% to 90% of school-age children suffer from tooth decay. Between 5% and 20% of adults suffer from oral diseases that can lead to tooth loss. 

Keep in mind: A well-balanced diet promotes proper permanent teeth and gum development and maintenance in children. You might not have realized that the mouth is actually part of your digestive system. Through chewing, your teeth crush and break down food so it can be transported to the stomach for efficient absorption of nutrients.

Strong and Healthy Teeth

To keep your teeth healthy, you must take both your diet and daily oral care into account. Brushing and flossing after each meal, visiting the dentist on a regular basis, and eating certain foods to improve your dental health are all habits you should incorporate into your wellness routine.

To learn how to maintain good oral hygiene, click here. The rest of this article will focus on tooth-friendly foods.

10 Foods to Protect Your Teeth

Foods rich in calcium; fluoride; riboflavin (B12); phosphorus; zinc; vitamins A, C, D, and K; and other nutrients are essential for maintaining strong and healthy teeth. Below are some examples of tooth-friendly treats:

Dairy

Cheeses, milks, natural yogurts, and other dairy products provide our bodies with large amounts of vitamin D and protein, which benefit our teeth. The low sugar content helps prevent cavities from forming.

Green tea

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Green tea provides many health benefits. It’s also an excellent choice for tooth care. Its antioxidant properties prevent cavities from forming, strengthens tooth enamel, and helps stop harmful bacteria from growing in your mouth. 

Celery

Celery is a vegetable that gives your teeth a workout. Chewing to break down its fibrous stalks stimulates saliva production, neutralizing acids that can be harmful to your teeth. Spinach, chard, and cabbage also have the same effect.

Kiwi

Kiwi is a delicious fruit that’s high in vitamin C. Just 100 grams of kiwi can contain up to 92.7 mg of vitamin C, providing up to 155% of your recommended daily intake. Kiwi promotes dentin formation (the layer that surrounds the inner part of the teeth) and helps prevent periodontal disease.

Wild salmon

Eating nutrient-dense proteins strengthens your body and your teeth. Wild salmon contains vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium, strengthening your teeth as a result. This fatty fish is also a good source of omega-3, potassium, and phosphorus.

Water

Your body cannot function properly without water. When it comes to teeth, drinking fluoridated water is ideal for maintaining oral hygiene as it strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Staying hydrated also helps maintain saliva production, which reduces acids in the mouth, an essential part of good dental health.

Keep in mind: In the U.S. as of 2012, about 75% of people had access to fluoridated drinking water. Be sure to choose a reliable water service and drink clean, healthy water. 

Nuts

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Nuts are full of proteins and minerals. Cavities develop as a result of acid production in the mouth, which is often caused by bacteria that are activated by carbohydrates. Nuts reduce the risk of tooth decay due to their low carbohydrate content. Nuts are chewy, which also helps with saliva production.

Sugar-free chewing gum

Chewing gum benefits your oral health in two ways: the first is through the production of saliva, and the second is through the consumption of xylitol, a sweetener that is effective in fighting cavities. According to the California Dental Association (CDA), several studies have shown that this natural sweetener inhibits the growth of bacteria like streptococcus mutans, which can cause cavities in children.

Parsley

To prevent bad breath (halitosis), try eating parsley, a leafy green herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. It also adds delicious flavor and aroma to your meals.

Apples

This classic fruit is high in both water and fiber content. The fibers help clean your teeth, stimulate your gums, and increase saliva secretion. While it won't work nearly as well as fluoride toothpaste, apples can help clean your teeth when you don't have access to it.

Example of a Tooth-Healthy Meal Plan 

To help you make mouth-healthy meals, we decided to provide some sample menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Keep in mind: These are just examples. Consult with a dental health professional for advice on which foods are right for you.

Breakfast

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Fruits are a low-calorie, vitamin-rich option to start your day. A fresh fruit salad has plenty of health benefits. Below is an option for a tasty combination:

  • Apples
  • Lettuce
  • Walnuts
  • Pomegranates
  • Carrots
  • Parsley

Preparation: 

For this simple dish, just cut the ingredients into small pieces, add them to a bowl, mix well, and enjoy. Keep in mind that this recipe shouldn’t be the only thing you eat for breakfast, and it should serve as a complement.

Lunch

This important meal should include a high-protein component, a source of complex carbohydrates, and, of course, vegetables. Below is a recipe for delicious healthy croquettes using the following ingredients:

  • Salmon (1 lb)
  • Chopped celery (to taste)
  • Eggs (2, lightly beaten)
  • Medium onion (1/2)
  • Lemon
  • Crackers or whole grain cereal crushed into a powder (1/3 cup)
  • Black pepper (1/8 teaspoon)
  • Olive or vegetable oil (1 tablespoon)
  • All-purpose flour (2 tablespoons)
  • Milk (just a splash)

Preparation (serves 6): 

  1. Cook the salmon with onion, celery, and salt to taste; drain any excess liquid
  2. After it cools, separate the cooked fish with a fork 
  3. In a bowl, add the cracker or whole grain cereal powder, milk, pepper, and eggs
  4. Mix well with the salmon until you achieve a uniform, doughy consistency
  5. Forming into small balls and then flatten them into discs 
  6. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan
  7. Add the croquettes and brown them on both sides until they’re thoroughly cooked
  8. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve

Dinner

The optimal time to eat dinner is between 7PM and 8PM. Wait at least two hours after eating before going to sleep to give your body time to properly digest the food. Below is a recipe for chicken salad. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast (2, cooked and cut into cubes)
  • Celery stalks (2, finely chopped)
  • Red apples (2, cored and diced)
  • Lettuce (16 leaves)
  • Raisins (1/2 cup)
  • Ground black pepper (1/8 teaspoon)
  • Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Greek yogurt (1/4 cup)
  • Mayonnaise (1/4 cup)

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except the lettuce leaves
  2. Line a serving plate with the lettuce leaves, and place the chicken salad on top
  3. If you like, serve with a slice of whole grain bread

Frequently Asked Questions

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Which fruits contain calcium?

Bones and teeth store 99% of your body’s calcium, making this mineral essential to proper function and health. You can get calcium primarily from dairy products. That said, there are many fruits rich in calcium: 

  • Blackberries contain approximately 29 mg of calcium for every 100 g
  • Dried figs have up to 162 mg of calcium per 100 g
  • Oranges have up to 40 mg of calcium per 100 g
  • Kiwi contains 34 mg per 100 g
  • Guavas have up to 18 mg of calcium in 100 g
  • Plums have 7 mg per 100 g  
  • Dates provide approximately 15 mg of calcium each
  • Avocado contains up to 12 mg per 100g

Which foods cause cavities?

The American Dental Association (ADA) says consuming any food that contains sugars may contribute to cavities. When certain bacteria come in contact with these sugars, it triggers acid production that’s harmful to teeth.

Keep in mind: Some foods are known to be harmful to your teeth like carbonated soft drinks, candy, pastries, sweets in general, and sugary fruit juices.

How can I strengthen sensitive teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth, you most likely have an oral health problem that results in tooth enamel loss or deficiency due to wear and tear. It can also be associated with exposed tooth roots. Gum disease, cavities, or cracked teeth can all cause tooth sensitivity.

In these cases, see a dentist who can evaluate your situation and recommend the best treatment. Some recommendations include brushing with toothpaste made for sensitive teeth and eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, like those mentioned in this article.

Smile Big! 

Now that you understand how to care for your teeth with diet, you can modify your meals to promote your and your family’s oral health. Proper nutrition is essential to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Keeping them in good condition throughout your life is fundamental to good overall health and wellbeing.

Remember that SABEResPODER!