All of us want a healthy, beautiful smile. With a healthy support structure in place, our teeth allow us to eat our favorite foods, consume a nutritious and balanced diet, and generally enjoy a functional mouth. A bright, complete smile is also essential for confidence when socializing. It is often the first thing people notice about others.
The problem is that the foods you consume can help to keep your smile in ship shape, or alternately, pave the way for bacterial growth, the formation of plaque and tartar, and the onset of tooth decay, gum disease, and even more serious oral health concerns. In other words, it behooves you to learn which foods are most likely to help you maintain a perfect smile. Here are some of the best foods when it comes to maintaining good oral health.
Dairy Products Calcium is essential for supporting strong bones, and this includes your teeth. This mineral provides needed support structure to keep teeth functioning properly. However, dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt also contain casein, a protein that helps to fight off the formation of cavities.
Cheese makes for a particularly good snack for your teeth because it can help to balance the pH levels in your mouth, reducing acidity that could erode enamel and open the door to infection and tooth decay. Yogurt, on the other hand, could introduce good bacteria into the mouth that replace harmful bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. You’ll want to look for products that offer probiotics and watch out for those that are high in sugar.
In other words, dairy products are the equivalent of a magic bullet aimed right at some of the biggest culprits behind oral health issues. Of course, dairy products can also be high in fat, so just make sure to consume them in moderation.
Leafy Greens You probably already know that leafy greens like spinach and kale are good for digestion and for your overall health, but you might not realize that they’re also an excellent addition to your diet in terms of maintaining good oral health. They introduce a wide variety of vitamins into your system and you may be surprised to learn that leafy greens are a good source of calcium.
If you’re one of many people that has trouble enjoying dark green veggies, just start looking for clever ways to incorporate them into your diet. You’ll find all kinds of ways to cook them and add them to everyday dishes, like throwing a handful into your fruit smoothie.
Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables Fruits and vegetables of any type can provide a host of health benefits thanks to the vitamins, fiber, and natural sugars they add to your diet. This is especially true when you use them as a replacement for processed carbs and sugars.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, celery, and carrots are particularly good for your teeth because of the additional benefits they provide for oral health. Because of their texture, chewing these foods actually helps to scrape harmful biofilm off teeth, preventing the buildup of sticky material that can turn into plaque and tartar. They can also stimulate saliva flow that rinses away leftover food particles and harmful bacteria.
Water Staying hydrated is a must for overall health, and it can help to ensure that you have adequate moisture in your mouth to rinse away bacteria. Drinking water, especially after meals, also helps to support this flushing mechanism. Ideally, you should brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash after every meal, but if you don’t have time, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to supplement your natural saliva function.
Foods to Avoid Now that you know which foods are going to help you maintain good oral health, you should know that there are also certain foods that are going to derail you. Sugar is the worst culprit, especially processed sugars. Soda, candy, and other sweets leave behind a sticky film that clings to teeth and feeds bacteria, creating ideal conditions for the formation of plaque, tartar, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Acidic foods are also harmful because they erode enamel and allow bacteria to gain a foothold inside teeth. While eating the right foods is a great way to maintain good oral health, eating the wrong foods can have just the opposite effect.