Your oral health is largely dictated by what you eat. Yes, brushing and flossing play major roles, but what you put on your plate matters more than you might think.
Your oral health is important — you only get one set of natural teeth. To keep your teeth and gums in the best condition possible, work the following six types of foods into your diet.
1. Calcium-Rich Dairy
Your tooth enamel is made of minerals, and one of the building blocks for strong enamel is calcium. By replenishing your enamel daily with the minerals it needs to combat the effects of acid erosion, you’re helping to stop tooth decay in its tracks and reverse the damage. Calcium-rich foods like cheese (especially cheddar) and yogurt are helpful to add to your diet.
2. Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
It doesn’t take the place of conscientious daily brushing, but chewing crunchy fruits and vegetables helps clean teeth with a light abrasive scrub. Eating these foods also increases saliva, your body’s natural defense against oral bacteria.
3. Foods with Vitamin D
While the best source of vitamin D is the bright sunshine, you can get this vitamin from your diet too. Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium that’s essential for tooth enamel restoration, so it’s a must when you’re structuring a diet around oral health. Fish and eggs are two of the main food sources of vitamin D.
4. Bacteria-Fighting Antioxidants
Antioxidants help your body defend and fight against bacterial infections and periodontal disease. Nuts and berries are two great foods to consume regularly for a daily dose of antioxidants.
5. Plaque-Defeating Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria — just what your body needs for efficient, healthy digestion and absorption. Research suggests consuming probiotics helps lower plaque development and keeps your gums healthy. Kombucha and kefir are two of the top sources of a concentrated dose of probiotics.
6. Essential Vitamin C
Where would we be without vitamin C? With a serious case of gum disease, perhaps. Vitamin C reduces inflammation and helps your body produce collagen, a vital ingredient in the fight against periodontal problems. Oranges, broccoli, peppers and kale — these can all give your body the vitamin C it needs.
Don’t Forget Water
For better oral health, it’s not just about what you’re eating, but what you’re drinking as well. Consuming sugary sodas and fruit juices is unhealthy. Work on replacing these beverages with water. Water helps wash away food particles and it stimulates saliva production, which is critical for your oral health.
Have questions about how your diet affects oral health? Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery has a team of experienced, knowledgeable dental professionals who can guide you to better dental health and help prevent future problems.