To prevent cavities and maintain good oral health, your diet – the foods you eat and how often you eat them — are key factors. The environment in your mouth begins to change the moment you put food in it.
Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars and carbohydrates from the foods you eat to acids, and it’s the acids that begin to attack the enamel on teeth, starting the decay process. The more often you eat and snack, the more frequently you are exposing your teeth to the cycle of decay.
The good news is, on the flipside, that you can protect and even improve your dental health by making better dietary choices, choices that Smiles Nambour is happy to share with you. Below, you will find a list of 10 foods that can help you achieve optimal oral health!
Top 10 Mouth-Healthy Foods & Drinks
Here are our top 10 recommended ‘superfoods’ to not only benefit your mouth but also improve your general health:
Kiwi Fruit. Many fruits contain Vitamin C, which is critical to the health of your gum tissue, but kiwis contain the highest amount. Without Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down, the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.
Tea. Both black and green teas contain polyphenols, which retard the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease. Green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities. Be aware, however, that while tea can be good for your dental health, it can also stain teeth – so be sure to brush your teeth when you are done drinking.
Cheese. Because they are high in phosphate and calcium, cheese and other dairy products help neutralize acid in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.
Celery. Chewing celery (or apples, carrots, or other so-called “mouthwash” foods) produces saliva. Saliva neutralizes the bacteria that lead to cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth. Think of it as nature’s dental floss!
Sesame Seeds. High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth and gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.
Onions. Onions have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. They are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked. Onions are also one of the foods associated with bad breath (“halitosis”), so be sure to brush and floss to keep that risk low.
Shiitake Mushrooms. Shiitake contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.
Raisins & Cranberries. OK, we’re cheating a little here, by including these two as one, but raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that inhibit two species of oral bacteria. Unsweetened cranberries contain polyphenols, which may keep plaque from sticking to teeth, thus lowering the risk of cavities.
Sweet Potatoes. Along with carrots, pumpkin and broccoli, sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin A, which is essential for tooth enamel formation and promotes healing of gum tissue.
Water. Water sluices stuck particles and gunk away from teeth and gums. It also keeps your mouth hydrated while stimulating saliva production – the best defense against bacteria.
Chewing gum can help. Chewing sugarless gum helps loosen food that may have gotten stuck to your teeth. It also increases saliva flow. Some gums contain ingredients that can reduce cavities as well as heal areas on the teeth where cavities are beginning. So, if you have to chew, chew sugarless gum!
Summing It All Up
Make sure your diet is rich in fresh produce, nuts and seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. This means, you’re going to have to read labels!
Also, remember that it’s not only the foods you eat but when you eat those foods that affect your dental health. Foods eaten during a meal cause less harm to teeth than constant snacking, because more saliva is released during a meal than during snacking. So, limit snacking and if you do snack choose healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables or a piece of cheese.
For healthy teeth and gums (and for a healthy life) think before you eat and drink!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at Smiles Nambour!
Top Notch Dentistry at Smiles Nambour
Smiles Nambour is the perfect choice for dental care in the Nambour area! We offer a full array of dental services and treatments, and can always help you with a recommendation.
At Smiles Nambour, we provide top-quality dentistry with the help of cutting-edge instruments and caring staff!