Did you know that there are foods which are good for teeth enamel, and even foods which will help with teeth whitening? Whether you’re trying to start your little ones off on a diet which will help build strong oral health, want to improve your own or are simple curious as to what foods are good for your teeth, here’s an easy guide to help you make the right dental food choices.
What are the best drinks for teeth health?
While we’re all quite aware that fizzy and acidic drinks can damage tooth enamel, did you know that there are healthy drink choices you can make for your teeth? Here’s a few of the best drinks for your teeth and overall dental health.
Of course, still water [especially fluoridated water] comes in high on the list. Every sip you take will help wash away food particles and acids left by other food or drink. It also helps reduce the level of bacteria in the mouth and reduces cavity-forming sugars to a minimum in between your regular brushing. Lastly, with a neutral pH, it helps re balance the mouth environment to prevent enamel damage when your toothbrush is far away. The fact it has no calories of its own is great too! Milk is also an excellent choice for those looking to improve the strength of their teeth, especially for children. The calcium-rich nature of dairy, alongside its phosphorus content, can help repair small areas of damage to tooth enamel as well as strengthen it from the inside out. The casein protein in milk also helps ward off tooth decay and preserve your enamel.
If you’re looking for something with a little more flavour, opt for any of the low-sugar veggie juices you can buy. Sadly, most high-fruit blends will still have enough acid content to do some damage to your tooth enamel, so opt for straight veggie juice where possible, or add limited carrot or apple for a slight sugar boost- just don’t overdo it. Dark green veg like spinach and kale can support gum health through their B vitamin content, and most ‘juiceable’ veggies also contain enamel-supporting calcium.
If you do opt for a cola, fruit juice or other acidic/sugary drink, then a diet version is preferable. Do offset the negative effects to your teeth, though, by swishing a little water after drinking.
What foods are good for tooth whitening?
While there is no miracle food which will replace professional tooth whitening, there are some foods good for tooth whitening support and to help prevent staining. Crunch some tasty raw broccoli florets for a healthy dose of iron to help prevent tooth staining and acid erosion. The high fibre content will even act as a natural ‘brush’ to help spruce up your teeth a little. Carrots also have a similar effect- although do be aware they’re higher in natural sugar too. While many fruits are acidic and can damage tooth enamel, oranges make a good choice in moderation – high in cavity-fighting vitamin C and lower in acidity than other citrus fruits. In general, most crunchy veggies will help keep your gums healthy by stimulating them, and very few veggies come with enamel-staining properties while their fibre content will help ‘sweep’ stains from your teeth, so boost your diet with some extra veggies to whiten up those gnashers.
Foods good for your tooth enamel
For a food to be good for your tooth enamel specifically, it should either be pretty PH-neutral [not too sugary or acidic] so it avoids damage to the all-important tooth surface, or provide a healthy ‘crunch’ of fibre to help gently clean the surface of the tooth and disperse bacteria that could otherwise damage the enamel. The great news for cheese lovers is that the natural lactic acid in cheese does both- the firm texture helps clean up the tooth surface, while the lactic acid helps raise the PH of your mouth and lower you risk of tooth decay. It’s also a food which boosts saliva production- nature’s way of keeping the mouth healthy. The high protein content and natural calcium help reinforce the tooth from the inside-out too.
While the general advice for tooth enamel health is ‘avoid sweet and acidic foods’, some fruits are better than others for your tooth enamel. Fibre-high fruits with a high-water content help boost saliva in the mouth, while the texture helps stimulate the gums and teeth, so think apples and other fruits if you’re in a pickle and can’t brush your teeth straight away.
What other foods are good for the teeth?
When you eat a poor diet that’s low in fibre and vitamins, one of the first places this shows is in your oral health. So almost any ‘healthy’ food is good for your teeth. Dairy in general will boost your calcium and phosphorus intake, while yogurt specifically offers beneficial bacteria [probiotics] that help balance the mouth environment, strengthen and protect your gums- just be sure to pick a plain variety, not one laden with extra sugar which will cancel out its great benefits. Boost the strength of your gums further by increasing the number of dark green veggies, especially leafy greens. They’re low in sugar whilst packed with calcium, bacteria-fighting iron and B vitamins, especially folic acid which has shown some help in warding off gum disease in pregnant women. Celery, like some of the other fruits and veggies we’ve mentioned, acts as a temporary ‘toothbrush’ to clean up your mouth after a meal, as well as boosting your vitamin content. Nuts also make a great food for your teeth. Again, it’s a great little package of calcium, protein and fibre while still being low sugar.
While you will still need to care for your teeth daily, and add the support of a great dental practice to help you keep your smile at 100%, adding healthy foods which are good for your teeth, alongside a selection of the best drinks for teeth, can make a great difference in your day-to-day oral health, keeping your gums and tooth enamel as healthy as possible as well as providing the minerals and vitamins you need to keep your teeth healthy from the inside out.