Much like anything with our bodies, good oral health begins with the diet. You have the choice to put whatever you want in your mouth– you have the choice to either damage your teeth and gums or to improve them. We have all learned how processed sugars, like candy, cakes and cookies, can have detrimental effects on our oral health. However, we haven’t heard nearly as much about foods that can help reverse these effects to strengthen our teeth, gums and reduce oral sensitivity. You should be mindful of the foods you eat and how often you clean your teeth because bacteria in the mouth can convert sugars and carbs into acids. Acid is the beginning of the decaying process because it eats away at the protective enamel around our gums and teeth. Below are 3 wonderful foods to eat for healthy gums, teeth and dental health:
Milk, Cheese & Yogurt
Cheeses, cow milk, and yogurt are thought to protect tooth enamel by fortifying our bones with calcium and phosphorous. These essential minerals are essential for redepositing minerals in tooth enamel (naturally lost through eating high acid foods). The hardest part of the tooth is the enamel or the outer, protective layer of the tooth. A significant part of the enamel structure is calcium, a mineral that cow’s milk provides a good source of when ingested. If you are thinking about taking calcium supplements to improve your teeth’ strength, make sure to include phosphorous supplements.
Leafy Greens (Spinach, Lettuce, Kale)
While cow’s milk is often thought to be our best source of calcium, leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce and kale (also chard, broccoli and brussels sprouts) provide an incredible amount of calcium. One cup of dark leafy greens (180 g) has 266 mg of calcium packed into it. You will also find folate in leafy greens, a B vitamin that optimizes oxygen transportation to our cells and tissues. Oxygen is essential for our gums, tongues and mouth tissues to function correctly, like the rest of our bodily functions. If you can’t consume cow milk, maybe you can opt for a couple of cups of cooked leafy greens!
“Crunchy” Fruits & Veggies
Crunchy, natural food can act as a cleaner for our teeth, gums and enamel! Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, cucumbers, and celery are a natural cleansing mechanism to remove plaque from our teeth. Harmful bacteria get swept away with every satisfying crunch, bringing with it any chance of acid build-up and tooth decay. Have you ever thought about how important saliva is? The chewing of crunchy fruits and veggies, like an apple, for example, stimulates saliva production, which rinses away food debris. We want to stimulate the blood flow to our gums with crunchy food, so we keep our gums happy and healthy rather than forgotten.
While diet can help immensely, it is imperative to regularly see an expert dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings, brush your teeth, and floss daily. By keeping the surface of your teeth clean, well maintained and consistently checked by a professional, your oral-health-improving diet will be even more well-received.