Eating habits and nutrition is one of those topics that we rarely hear about in terms of their connection to our oral health. The food that we eat builds our teeth and gums. In the same way that building a house with shoddy construction materials leads to a poorly built home, unhealthy foods and oral habits create weaker teeth and gums that are more susceptible to problems. Let's take a look at some foods that are good for teeth and how eating food for healthy gums will support your teeth and attractive smile.
Nutrition and Oral Health
It is vital that you eat a variety of nutritious foods from all of the food groups to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy. This includes a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as protein and some dairy.
Where dairy comes in is its calcium content. Foods like low-fat milk, as well as nutritious yogurts and cheeses definitely help support healthy teeth and bones. Some other calcium sources include almonds, canned salmon, and many green leafy vegetables.
Phosphorus also supports strong teeth, and is found in abundance in fish, lean meat, eggs, dairy and nuts.
All of the soft tissues in your body rely upon vitamin C, including your gums. So be sure that you are eating plenty of foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, spinach and broccoli.
Snack Choices and Habits
Don't neglect focusing upon your snacking habits when it comes to oral health. Resist the temptation to frequently snack between meals, as this tends to introduce acids that can eat away at your tooth enamel, eventually leading to the development of cavities.
Take it easy on the sugary snacks, and look for more nutritious choices like popcorn, fruits and yogurt. Just remember to brush your teeth after you snack to keep cavities at bay. If you are away from home, be sure to rinse your mouth after eating snacks to remove food particles and reduce the sugar load.
Foods That Whiten Teeth
There is some evidence that certain foods can have a mild whitening effect on teeth, including:
- Strawberries: Strawberries contain malic acid, which can have a minor whitening effect.
- Watermelon: This perennial summertime treat actually contains higher levels of malic acid than strawberries.
- Pineapple: Pellicle is a layer containing salivary proteins that can absorb pigments. It also makes bacteria able to adhere to your teeth. Pineapple contains bromelain – a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins.
A Note on Baby Bottles:
Are you caring for a baby? Never put your baby to bed with a bottle! Doing so means that their teeth and gums are marinating in sugary liquids that cause tooth decay. You should also limit the consumption of juice and sugary drinks for children five years of age or younger.
Thanks for your support!
- Dr. Houlik