The Dental Diet – Nutrition tips for strong, healthy teeth
If you want to know what to eat to keep your teeth and gums strong, chew this over…
Dental health is often taken for granted and is more important than most people realise. Good nutrition plays an important role in helping to keep on top of Oral Health.
Our eyes are a window to the soul, but our teeth and gums are a window to our bodies.
General health is vital for oral health, so keeping fit and eating right will also benefit your teeth and gums.
What to eat or avoid
While we could make a list of the nutrients you need for healthy teeth and gums, it’s not going to help you choose what actual food you need to stock up on when you visit the grocer, however, it’s pretty simple:
- Eat a mostly whole foods diet with lots of lean protein and fresh vegetables.
- Avoid most processed foods, especially those that are high in simple sugars.
In saying that, there are a few foods, nutrients, and/or supplements that may play a specific role in assisting with oral health.
Probiotics may help to decrease gingivitis and plaque; bacteria in fermented foods might suppress the growth of disease causing bacteria in the oral cavity.
Cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries may prevent the attachment and colonization of disease causing bacteria on teeth.
Green tea is high in antioxidants, which are known to reduce bacteria and toxic by-products of bacteria in the mouth. Green tea is also rich in fluoride, a well-known tooth strengthener!
Echinacea, garlic, ginger, and ginseng
While the jury is still out, these foods are thought to help decrease disease causing bacteria.
Fluoride is said to protect the teeth in two ways: Protection from demineralization – when bacteria in the mouth combine with sugars they produce acid. This acid can erode tooth enamel and damage our teeth. Fluoride can protect teeth from demineralization that is caused by the acid.
Sugars & oral health
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. While it’s clear added sugar is not your friend for any reason, it may not be so much the amount of sugar we consume, but more the frequency of sugar consumption that causes the problems. Eating sugary foods when you are able to clean your teeth afterward isn’t as bad, as a constant stream of sugar through your mouth. It’s the sugar drinks and snacks throughout the day, when sugar is left to sit on our teeth until we can clean them next, that causes harm. Avoid those high sugar drinks and snacks during your mid-afternoon slump, instead grab some nuts, an apple or some carrot sticks to boost your energy instead.
Recommendations for Oral Hygiene 1-0-1.
- Brush twice a day for 2 minutes. (go on, it’s just 2 minutes!) Floss twice daily – no excuses. If you’re not doing this, then start now.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking can wreak mayhem on gum and tooth health.
- Drink green tea. Green tea aids inflammation, inhibits bacteria, reduces acid, and freshens your breath! PLUS, it’s good for weight loss, so learn to love your Green Tea!
- Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods when you can, they provide plenty of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin D. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, hard aged cheeses, plain yogurt, meats, beans, mushrooms, fish, eggs, are all your teeth’s friends.
- Raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables every day. Raw veggies help to clean your teeth. Eating an apple after lunch can help to remove any food that has remained stuck to your teeth.
- Limit added sugars.
- Maintain a lean/healthy body composition. Excess body fat can promote poor systemic health, including poor oral health.
- Eat more spinach, lentils, nuts, eggs, whole grains, meat, seafood, and soy.
- Get regular exercise.
Smile and try our tips, you’ll thank yourself for it one day!