Good daily dental hygiene is one of the best habits you can have for healthy teeth, but did you know your diet can also assist in maintaining a great smile?
The right foods can lower acidity levels in the mouth, stimulate saliva, help build healthy teeth and gums, and work towards combatting tooth decay and gum disease.
Here are some recent findings on foods that have been found to help your teeth.
In 2013, researchers found cheese may help lower the risk of cavities by maintaining the pH level in the mouth. The study followed 68 teens aged 12-15 those who ate cheese, and showed they had a rapid increase in pH levels just after consuming cheese, suggesting the dairy product has anti-cavity properties.
“The study indicated that the rising pH levels from eating cheese may have occurred due to increased saliva production (the mouth’s natural way to maintain a baseline acidity level), which could be caused by the action of chewing,” Science Daily explains.
“Additionally, various compounds found in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel and help further protect teeth from acid.”
Oranges, lemons and pineapples
Citrus is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to teeth. On one hand the acid in citrus can weaken enamel, but on the other Orthodontics Australia notes: “the vitamin C in citrus strengthens blood vessels and connective tissue and slows down the progression of gum disease by reducing inflammation”.
“Go ahead and make oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus regular features in your fruit bowl,” they continue, “but just remember to wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth after you eat citrus fruits.”
The American Dental Association notes foods like cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds may also benefit your teeth due to the calcium they provide, while protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are the best sources of phosphorus.
“Both of these minerals play a critical role in dental health, by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel,” the ADA states.
Like citrus, there’s two sides to the tea story when it comes to teeth. The tannins in tea can potentially stain teeth but as Live Science explains, compounds in black and green teas, called polyphenols, slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease.
“Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea for one minute, 10 times a day, had less plaque buildup on their teeth than people who rinsed their mouths with water.
“What’s more, the size and stickiness of their plaque was reduced.
“Tea undermines the ability of some bacteria to clump together with other bacteria, the researchers said.”
Fruit and vegetables
It stands to reason fresh fruit and vegetables would have benefits for teeth. They help the body fight infection, regenerate cells and maintain general health.
However, fruit and vegetables also help teeth specifically in a number of ways.
Crunchy fruit and vegetables can help scrub teeth clean, salads and greens with a high water content can offset sugar, while the chewing involved in consuming fresh fruit and vegetables also helps stimulate saliva production.
Not only does it keep the body hydrated, water, and particularly fluoridated water, strengthens teeth, washes away food remnants, dilutes acid, improves saliva production, and of course doesn’t contain sugar.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.