If you brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist for regular checkups, you’ve built an excellent foundation for good oral health.
But have you thought about what you eat and how it affects your teeth and gums?
As we recently covered in our ‘The Role of Diet in Maintaining Good Oral Health’ post, diet plays a crucial role in oral health.
If you want to support healthy teeth and gums from the inside out, read on to learn about 8 foods that boost your oral health.
The Importance of Oral Health
The mouth is filled with bacteria that is kept under control with good oral hygiene and the body’s natural defence system. However, poor oral hygiene can allow bacteria to multiply.
This bacteria can then cause tooth decay, gum disease, oral infections, and inflammation. Studies have found a connection between severe gum disease and systemic diseases.
Benefits of good oral health include:
- Healthier gums
- Reduced heart attack risk
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Lower cancer risk
- Safer pregnancy
- Healthier lungs
- Reduced respiratory disease risk
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8 Foods That Boost Your Oral Health
1. Crunchy Veggies
Crunchy veggies, such as celery and carrots, require a good deal of chewing. During this chewing process, crunchy veggies act almost like a natural toothbrush for the teeth. With its fibrous texture, celery is especially effective at naturally scrubbing the surface of teeth.
Carrots, celery, and other crunchy veggies also have a high water content and support saliva production. Saliva plays several key roles in oral health, including washing away food debris and bacteria and supporting a healthy pH in the mouth.
Carrots and celery are also high in various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support oral health and overall health.
Fibrous fruits such as apples help naturally scrub the teeth, stimulate the gums, act as a natural breath freshener, and increase saliva flow. Apples also contain a range of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and a high amount of fibre to support healthy teeth and gums.
Pears are another excellent fruit for oral health. Raw pears help neutralise acids in the mouth to fight decay.
You may not appreciate what it does to your breath, but garlic offers multiple benefits for oral health. The compound allicin is the superstar here. Allicin contains powerful antimicrobial properties to help fight tooth decay and gum disease.
Along with garlic, raw onions also contain potent antimicrobial compounds that help promote a healthy mouth by fighting tooth decay and gum disease.
4. Dairy Products
Cheese, milk, and plain yogurt are all rich in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus, two nutrients that are crucial for strong teeth and healthy gums.
The phosphorus and calcium found in dairy products can help support remineralisation by helping to rebuild tooth enamel and put minerals back into teeth.
Calcium and vitamin D help reduce the risk of gum disease and support strong teeth and bones.
Cheese is especially beneficial for oral health as it promotes saliva production, is high in calcium, low in sugar, and contains a protein (casein) that helps fortify tooth enamel.
5. Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, and kale are bursting with nutrients that are good for your teeth, gums, and overall health.
Leafy greens contain folic acid, fibre, calcium, vitamin K, and a variety of vitamins and minerals that boost oral health. Crunchy greens can also help scrub the surfaces of teeth as you chew.
6. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are excellent foods for supporting oral health.
Anchovies, sardines, and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers believe these fatty acids help reduce inflammation to support better oral health.
In this study, individuals with a higher dietary intake of Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) had a lower risk of gum disease.
Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are also high in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D to protect tooth enamel and support strong bones.
Along with a high fibre content and powerful phytonutrients, strawberries are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial for tissue growth and repair and can help teeth maintain their structure and strength.
Vitamin C also boosts immunity to help destroy harmful microorganisms. This can help the body fight tooth decay.
Along with strawberries, other vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables include:
- Bell peppers
Nuts are packed with important vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
Each nut offers its benefits, so try to include a variety in your diet. For instance, cashews contain a wide range of nutrients and help stimulate saliva production. Almonds contain calcium to support healthy teeth and gums.
Other Strategies for Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Along with regularly consuming crunchy fruits and veggies, vitamin C-rich foods, fatty fish, nuts, leafy greens, and dairy products, here are additional tips for a teeth-friendly diet:
- Drink enough water — Water promotes saliva production, helps wash away food particles and bacteria from the teeth, and helps neutralise acids in the mouth
- Limit your consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks
- Limit the number of snacks, especially sugary ones, you consume in a day
- Limit your intake of sports drinks or energy drinks
- Limit your intake of sticky or chewy foods (taffies, dried fruit, lollies, candies) as these are in contact with the teeth for a long time, allowing bacteria to multiply
Enjoy Healthy Teeth and Gums With Chelmsford Dental
Along with eating tooth-friendly foods and brushing and flossing daily, regular visits with your local dentist are crucial for good oral health.
At Chelmsford Dental in Perth, we provide personalised, comprehensive dental care for the whole family. Contact us to book a general checkup to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.