When it comes to the health of your teeth, you really are what you eat. Sugary foods, such as candy and carbonated drinks, contribute to tooth decay. One of the first areas to be affected when your diet is not ideal is your oral health. Use this healthy list of foods to improve your diet and also the health of your mouth.
If you're one of the many people who love cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. A study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the American Academy of General Dentistry, reported by EurekAlert! found that eating cheese increased the pH in the subjects' mouths and therefore lowered their risk of tooth decay. It's thought that the chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.
Like cheese, yoghurt has a high content of calcium and protein, which makes it ideal for strengthening and improving the health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yoghurt also help your gums because the good bacteria remove bacteria that cause cavities. If you decide to add more yoghurt to your diet, it's best to choose a plain variety that has no added sugar.
Leafy greens are always included in any healthy foods list. They're rich in vitamins and minerals but low in calories. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. With a high content of calcium, it builds your teeth's enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has many health benefits, including possibly treating gum disease in pregnant women, according to MedlinePlus. If you have trouble including leafy greens in your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad or throw some kale onto a pizza. You can also try adding some greens to a smoothie.
Although the ADA recommends avoiding most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples, might be sweet, but they're also high in fibre and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which removes bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Eating an apple isn't the same as brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush. Pack either a whole apple or apple slices in your lunch box to give your mouth a good cleaning at the end of the meal.
Like apples, carrots are crunchy and rich in fibre. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Besides being high in fibre, carrots are a great source of vitamin A. Add a few slices of raw carrots to your salad, or enjoy some baby carrots on their own.
Celery might get a bad reputation for being bland, watery and full of those pesky strings, but like carrots and apples, it acts a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It's also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that boost the health of your gums. Celery can be made tastier by topping it with cream cheese.
Almonds are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein with a low sugar content. Enjoy a portion of almonds with your lunch. You can also add a handful to a salad or to a stir-fry dinner.
Besides adding more leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, what you drink is important too. Since it has no calories or sugar, water is always the best pick, especially compared to juice or carbonated drinks. Your diet makes a big difference in promoting a healthy smile.