High in calcium and protein, cheese and other dairy products are an excellent source of nutrients that help strengthen teeth and gums. Additionally, the lactic acid found in yogurt helps remove excess food particles from your teeth, keeping them clean and healthy. Look for cheeses and dairy products that contain vitamin D and B12 for added benefits.
Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, and kale are great for your teeth and gums because they contain vitamins and minerals such as calcium and folic acid. Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth while folic acid aids in tissue growth including gum tissues. Try making leafy greens a part of every meal or snacking on them throughout the day. Chewing on raw vegetables after a meal is also a great habit to get into as it stimulates saliva production which helps wash away food particles from your teeth.
In addition to vegetables, try incorporating whole grains into your diet as well. Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, rice, oats, quinoa, etc. These foods are not only good for your overall health but they also help provide extra chewing resistance for your jaw which is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Grains are also rich in fiber which helps clean out bacteria in the mouth that can lead to cavities.
The chewing motion of chewing gum stimulates saliva in the gums and helps remove the buildup of plaque. Plus, sugar-free gum often contains xylitol, a type of sugar that stops harmful bacteria from sticking to the teeth and encourages saliva production. This means that your saliva is able to wash away food particles and bacteria after eating or drinking without the need for you to do it first! This can help with decay prevention while also protecting teeth against cavities. Chewing gum can also lower the risk for bad breath by neutralizing odors in the mouth. (It’s also good to know that not all chewing gum is created equal—some varieties have added sugars that can do more harm to your teeth than just letting them sit out at the end of a meal.)
Eating sugary foods, such as candy, cake, cookies, and soda, can lead to tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on these sugars and produce acid that wears away tooth enamel. Even worse, the sticky nature of these foods allows them to linger on your teeth for a long time. This increases the amount of time there is for the damaging acids to work, resulting in permanent damage to your tooth structure. Limit your consumption of sugary foods and brush and floss after every time you eat to help reduce your risk of cavities.
When you feel the need to snack, opt for healthy options that don’t stick to the teeth such as veggies with hummus or plain yogurt. By ensuring that you are consuming plenty of healthy foods on a regular basis, you are doing all you can to keep a healthy smile for years to come!