It might seem counterintuitive, since we usually associate food as the cause of our teeth troubles by feeding the bacteria that produce cavities and gum disease, but in reality there are many foods that can actually improve the health of your teeth if you eat them. Here are only five of them:
You’ve probably come a long way since your Mom told you to drink your milk because it’s good for you, but she was right all along. As many people already know, milk is great for your bones because of its calcium content, but it also has a great effect on the health of your teeth as well. The calcium in milk strengthens teeth, and promotes the health of your gums—simultaneously acting against cavities and gum disease. Additionally, jaw bone strength is an important factor in dental health, and the fortification that milk provides to bones supports this too.
Carrots are like a 2-in-1 dental health promoter. For one, carrots contain vitamin A, which is a necessary for the upkeep of the enamel which provides support to your teeth. More interestingly, eating raw carrots requires you to salivate more due to their hard, crunchy nature, meaning that you’ll cleanse your mouth of many of the bacteria that live there and produce acids that cause tooth decay. Additionally, carrots (and any abrasive food) actually massage the gums and clean between teeth while you eat them. And you thought carrots were just good for your eyesight!
3. Green Tea
Most people know that tea contains anti-oxidants, among these anti-oxidants are a type called “catechins.” Catechins are an incredibly effective destroyer of the bacteria in the mouth that turns sugar from food into plaque. In fact, many studies have shown that the catechins in tea have a powerful inhibiting effect on the growth of those bacteria in the first place. When your Mom gave you tea when you were sick, who knew she was also killing all that bacteria in your mouth?
Strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C for your diet, and Vitamin C is important for your dental health as well. Vitamin C has an important role in promoting the health of your gums due to the collagen production (which supports tissue structure) and gums are naturally a fairly weak tissue in our body. More importantly, Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients that helps our bodies fight infections—among these are gum diseases such as gingivitis. If you increase Vitamin C production, your body will be better equipped to fight off these dental dangers. Furthermore, Strawberries have a substance in them that causes very mild bleaching of the teeth, meaning you could come out with a (slightly) whiter smile!
Okay, a weird final choice, but hear us out. Unfortunately, the human diet simply does not have many food sources of Vitamin D, and Vitamin D is a catalyst in the reaction that allows the human skeleton (that includes teeth!) to process Calcium. Salmon and similar fish are some of the few opportunities for a human to get Vitamin D into their diet, and thus are very important to the process of promoting your overall dental health, and ensuring you have the best of smiles.
Dr. Robert D’Alfonso is the owner of his own practice: Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, located in Lakeway, TX. A fan of food himself, Dr. D’Alfonso loves to suggest healthy foods that are delicious and can improve your dental health in the process.