When it comes to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, it’s not just about flossing and brushing your teeth daily. Your day-to-day diet, and plays an important role too. The foods you eat, as well as the foods you avoid, can help you maintain a shinier, healthier and cavity free smile.
Here are some 7 foods that can help your teeth stay healthy – The Good Seven:
- Dark Chocolate – Even with the sugar in it? Yup. Dark chocolate contains the compound CBH, which may be more effective at fighting tooth decay than fluoride. In fact, the properties found in dark chocolate have also been shown to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. OK, so what about the sugar that comes with it? While the mouth generally turns sugars you consume into acids that can eat away at your tooth’s enamel and create cavities, the antibacterial agents found in cacao actually counter these sugars. Just don’t overdue it. Look for dark chocolate with 75% cacao content or higher, and with less than 8 gram of sugar per serving.
- Chicken Liver – OK, it’s not chocolate, but chicken liver still offers a lot for your teeth. It contains a high amount of vitamin K2, which is essential to the development of teeth. How? Vitamin K2 helps keep the calcium from building up in the arteries and transfer it instead to the bones and teeth. Having a vitamin K2 deficiency is a big reason many kids in America require orthodontics.
- Wild Salmon – While calcium helps combat tooth decay by strengthening the enamel of your teeth, and it’s also good for your gums, but our bodies can’t absorb it properly without a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Luckily, fatty fish, such as wild salmon, provide a great source for vitamin D.
- Water – Every body needs water, especially since 60% of the human body is made up of water. But our teeth rely on H2O too. As a natural protector of our teeth and gums, saliva helps neutralize acids in our mouth and prevents tooth decay, not to mention bad breath. Because saliva is made up of 99.5% water, staying well hydrated will help saliva do its job. Drinking water throughout the day also helps rinse away food debris, and prevents staining after meals and snacks.
- Snap Peas – Think of them as nature’s floss and toothbrush combination. The high fiber content from snap peas can help scrub your teeth, as well as break up plaque buildup. Snap peas make excellent snacks between meals, plus they speed up the saliva production because it takes extra time to chew them. If eating snap peas aren’t your thing, eating apples and carrots are crunchy, high-fiber alternatives.
- Chewing gum that contains Xylitol – While the average American consumes about 1.8 pounds of chewing gum a year, some studies show that chewing gum that contains the natural sweetener Xylitol, which comes from the bark of the birch tree, can actually reduce the amount of cavity causing bacteria in your mouth. Chewing gum, with Xylitol or sugarless, also helps remove food particles from your teeth, as well as stimulates the production of saliva. Dog owners please note, however, to keep your gum away from your dog, as Xylitol is harmful to dogs.
- Green & Black Tea – Drinking a cup of tea after a meal is a good option for the prevention of cavities. Why? Green and Black tea contain a natural plant compound called polyphenods,which can help prevent tooth decay. Every time you eat, you also feed the bacteria in your mouth, which create acids as a waste product. And these acids can cause cavities to form. The polyphenods from the tea you drink can actually work to suppress the bacteria after you eat a meal.
Incorporating some of these foods into your diet can help you keep your smile, teeth and gums healthy, especially when you maintain a good regular oral health regime that includes daily flossing and brushing with routine dental exams and teeth cleanings.
P.S. Eating a lot of dark chocolate doesn’t mean you can skip your dental exams. If you haven’t seen a dentist for a while, please schedule an appointment.