After a typical dental check up and cleaning, we provide all of our patients with guidance on daily preventative dental care. Much of the emphasis is placed upon regular brushing, flossing and special attention in tough to reach areas of the mouth. In our blog, we have written a lot about innovative dental hygiene products, and other preventative tips, but the concept of food as a means to promote dental health is a topic we have not covered. Naturally we would tell you what foods to avoid eating. This is not the same as being informed about what to eat to protect your teeth.
Let’s have a look at a few key foods that will help you maintain better dental hygiene.
Ten Common Foods that Promote Preventative Dental Care at Home
1. Captains of Crunch – Apples, Carrots, and Celery
Crunchy fruits (those not too acidic) and vegetables that are high in both fibre and water content are great for the maintenance of strong teeth. Their firm texture serves to scrub your teeth clean while stimulating the flow of saliva in the process. Saliva is essential to dental care because it counteracts the acids that can damage your teeth, rebuilding the calcium and phosphates worn away by acidic foods and beverages.
2. Milk it for What it’s Worth – Dairy
The calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D that is delivered through the consumption of cheese, milk and other dairy products are minerals essential to dental health. As your teeth are greatly comprised of calcium you can stave off tooth decay by maintaining a diet high in it. We understand that some households abstain from dairy which is why we can also suggest a trip to your local natural health grocer for dairy alternatives (almond, coconut, soy milks), calcium-fortified juices (non-acidic), and other foodstuffs that can provide the required minerals.
3. Tea is the New Black – Green (& Black)
Polyphenols are micronutrients acquired through our diet that are necessary to the prevention of not just degenerative diseases, but dental related diseases as well. Green and black tea have an abundant accounting of polyphenols. These micronutrients interact with plaque to uproot harmful bacteria and prevent acid, ultimately helping to prevent cavities and gum disease. Here’s an additional tip for those averse to sipping tea out of concern for their white teeth – use a straw to bypass any aesthetic impact on your enamel.
4. Go Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts, and Walnuts
Commonly purchased nuts are high in vitamins and minerals necessary to dental health. They deliver calcium (almonds) and vitamin D (peanuts), stimulate saliva (cashews), and contain other important vitamins and minerals such as fibre, folic acid, iron, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc (walnuts). Get cracking and have a handful on a regular basis.
5. Produce Department’s Natural Toothbrush – Broccoli
These little dark-green trees, when consumed raw, have a soft yet effective bristle effect, naturally disrupting plaque from attaching to your teeth and gums. Broccoli is also relatively high in calcium – an added benefit to your preventative dental hygiene plan.
6. Open Sesame – Seeds
Sesame seeds are high in calcium and are effective at getting into the nooks and crannies of your teeth, removing plaque and helping build tooth enamel with their mineral injection. We know what you’re thinking – it seems counter intuitive to consume seeds since they do tend to get stuck in your teeth, but this kind can be swiftly removed (after they’ve done their job) with brushing and flossing at day’s end.
7. Oh So Sweet – Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin A is imperative to the formation of tooth enamel and for the regeneration of gum tissue. While the aforementioned broccoli and carrots are high in this ingredient, sweet potatoes are packed full of vitamin A.
8. Start Sautéing – Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms contain a naturally occurring sugar (not the bad kind) called lentinan which serves to prevent bacteria from forming plaque and gingivitis. While some foods kill-off both good and bad bacteria, the impactful extract found in shiitake mushrooms miraculously leaves the good stuff, as if it knows.
9. You Heard it on the Grape Vine – Raisins
The first word that may come to mind when you think of raisins may be “sweet” but fret not because raisins do not contain sucrose, or “table sugar”, as you know it. What they are packed with are phytochemicals, which are thought to kill plaque bacteria. So when you get a hankering for a sweet snack reach for the raisins to satisfy your pangs while promoting dental health in the process.
10. Let it Flow – Water
It’s often the most obvious items that elude us when it comes to health and wellness. While you know that water intake is essential to the maintenance of physical fitness and good skin, it is absolutely essential to dental health as well. Water promotes saliva production and serves as the most natural means of rinsing, keeping your teeth free of loose debris.
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