Better Teeth Through Healthy Eating: The Diet Your Teeth Will Love
Posted: May 28, 2020
Last Modified: June 6, 2022
When you think about healthy teeth, you probably think of regular flossing and brushing to get rid of plaque. Maybe you think of mouthwash or braces. You might even imagine a dazzling white smile. However, we want to introduce a new idea to your definition of oral health.
When you think of healthy teeth, think of food.
Seem contradictory? Don’t worry – today, we’re going to explain how the right foods can actually improve your oral health by making your teeth stronger, fighting plaque buildup, and keep your gums healthy.
Why is the Right Food Important for Your Teeth?
Food plays a major role in the care and keeping of your teeth. In the dentistry world, you hear a lot about which foods are bad for you – sticky sweets and soft drinks are two of the top offenders – but food can also be a powerful force for good, too. The food you eat provides nutrition, which can help your teeth stay strong, but it can also influence how much saliva you produce, prevent bacteria from growing, and strengthen your gums.
The Healthy Tooth Diet
We didn’t just choose the image at the top of the blog because it looked tasty (although it definitely does!). It’s a good example of what healthy eating for your teeth should look like. By making conscious, smart choices about what you eat, you can actively fight tooth decay and help provide your mouth with the nutrition it needs to stay healthy and resistant to infection.
For meals that your teeth will love, you should include the following foods:
- Fruits and Vegetables – Eating produce that’s rich in fiber does several things for your teeth. They naturally help keep your teeth clean, but they also encourage you to produce more saliva while you’re eating. Saliva helps reduce the effects of any acids you might also be eating, which prevents early tooth decay.
- Cheese and Dairy – You know where we’re going with this. Calcium is essential for healthy teeth, but dairy products are another good way to stimulate saliva production.
- Eggs, Lean Meat, and Fish – Phosphorous is calcium’s best friend when it comes to your teeth since it’s what helps strengthen the calcium into hard bone, and these meats usually have plenty of it.
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods – Anti-inflammatory foods, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and dark green leafy vegetables, help reduce inflammation throughout your entire body, including your gums. When your gums are inflamed, they make it much easier for bacteria to settle in and cause infections. Therefore, by reducing systemic inflammation, you help your gums (and the rest of your body) stay healthy.
Be sure to drink plenty of water. Not only will you keep yourself hydrated, but water will also help rinse out your mouth, which helps prevent acid from chewing away at your tooth enamel.
Remember that the adoption of this diet doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never have to pay another visit to your Barrie dental office. Teeth that look perfectly fine can still have underlying issues that need to be addressed. Eating right just means that you’re providing your teeth with an extra line of defense.
Yes, You Can Still Snack
Optimally, you should do your best to avoid snacking throughout the day. You produce more saliva during a meal, which helps to wash away any bits of food that could get stuck in your teeth, and also helps mitigate the effects of acid. However, if you still want to snack, there are healthy ways to go about it.
Choose healthy foods to snack on instead of sugary or sticky items. Nuts, cheese, and vegetables are all good options, and of course, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout. You should also brush your teeth after snacking or, at the very least, give your mouth a good rinse with some water.
What Should You Avoid?
- Sugary Foods – Some fruits and vegetables naturally contain sugars, and that’s all right. The kind of sugar you should be avoiding is the type you find in cookies, candy, or sodas. Sugar contributes to tooth decay, but foods with a lot of sugar usually don’t contribute much by way of any nutritional benefit. Your gums need nutrients to stay strong and healthy, and if they don’t get them, you might put yourself at higher risk for gum disease. Remember: reducing your overall sugar intake but regularly indulging in small amounts of sugary foods is just as bad for your teeth as eating larger amounts.
- Sticky Starches – Starchy foods, like bread or potato chips, can easily get stuck to your teeth or trapped within the gaps between your teeth.
- Dried Fruit – But wait, we hear you say, isn’t fruit healthy? Fresh fruit is – dried fruit tends to have concentrated amounts of sugar, and can stick to your teeth, especially if you eat it for a snack and don’t brush your teeth afterward. When in doubt, always choose fresh fruit instead.
The Secret to Healthy Teeth
For optimum oral health, a good diet and brushing and flossing at home should be complemented by regular visits to your Barrie dental office. If it’s been a while since your last visit, or if you suspect your teeth might be in need of some care, call our office at (705) 721-1143. You can also send us a message online, and one of our team members will be happy to get in contact with you.