Superfoods for super teeth!
One of the stereotypes of dentists and orthodontists is that we don’t want you eating sugar or lollies. So if you avoid lollies and sugary things, you’re in the clear…right?
Wrong! It’s great to avoid lollies but there are several foods you can eat to actually help build healthier teeth and gums, prevent tooth decay and gum disease and keep your smile looking magnificent!
Dark chocolate (70% cacao) is a superfood for the teeth due to a compound called CBH which has shown to help harden tooth enamel, making your teeth less susceptible to tooth decay. In other words, dark chocolate may actually help prevent cavities!
What makes cheese a superfood for the teeth is its ability to combat acid erosion of the teeth. Every time you eat a meal with breads, sweets, citrus, or soda, your teeth are exposed to tons of tooth decay causing acid. Eating cheese after a meal can counteract the acid left behind by a meal, making it a great choice for dessert.
Hopefully you’re getting enough calcium in your diet since calcium protects your teeth and gums from disease. However, your body can’t absorb all that calcium if you don’t have enough vitamin D in your diet. Fatty fish is a fantastic source of vitamin D, which allows your teeth and gums to get the full disease-fighting benefits of calcium from the foods you eat.
The vitamin C in citrus strengthens blood vessels and connective tissue and slows down the progression of gum disease by reducing inflammation. Just make sure not to brush right after you eat citrus fruits. Have a glass of sparkling water (high pH water with minerals) and then brush later. Always wait at least a half hour after consuming acidic food or drink before brushing.
Saliva is made up of 99.5% water. Dehydration can thicken your saliva, which wreaks havoc in the mouth.
Optimum levels of water in your saliva are essential to proper breakdown of food, neutralising bacterial acid (and thus, bad breath), and preventing tooth decay. If you’ve ever suffered from dry mouth, you know that saliva helps ward off bad breath as saliva neutralises bacterial acid in the mouth.
Your saliva is important, so keep it well hydrated. While water still isn’t as good as a toothbrush and floss, it can still aid in reducing plaque by rinsing away food debris. Rinsing with water after drinking coffee or having other staining foods can help reduce staining to the teeth.
Fruits and vegetables
Don’t have a toothbrush handy? High-fibre fruits and vegetables are your next best option. Their high fibre content physically scrubs the teeth similar to the way your toothbrush might and stimulates saliva production because of the extra chewing they require.
The scrubbing action is good because it reduces the amount of plaque build-up until you can get to your toothbrush and floss. If you’ve ever woken up with morning breath, you’ll know intuitively that saliva production is what wards off bad breath. Saliva neutralises tooth enamel damaging acids.
Green and black tea
Polyphenols, which are found in green and black tea, interact with the bacteria that cause plaque by killing or suppressing them. Bacteria feed on the sugars in your mouth and, once they’ve had their feast, they excrete tooth enamel destroying acids. This makes tea a great choice for during or after a meal, since it suppresses the presence of these acid producing bacteria in the mouth.