You already know the basics of good oral hygiene for a healthy smile. You brush and floss regularly, maybe even use a high-quality rinse for whiter teeth and fresh breath. You’ve been pretty good about scheduling dentist visits too.
When it comes to the foods you eat, it’s easy to think only in terms of what to avoid – sugars, foods that stain tooth enamel, etc. Dental care is something you do between meals, right?
Not so fast. It turns out there are lots of foods that are not only great to eat, but they are great supplements to your dental care.
1. Milk builds strong bones
Have a nice cold glass of milk to help strengthen those bones. Your teeth and their supportive bone tissue will thank you for that refreshing drink of calcium-rich goodness. As a bonus, your milk also contains casein, which helps reduce acid levels in your mouth, lessening bacteria growth.
2. An apple a day…
Those crunchy fruit fibers in the bite of an apple work very much like your regular toothbrush. The chewing action helps clean tooth enamel as it stimulates your gums. Your mouth produces another natural dental care product as you eat an apple – saliva. Its job is to manage acidity in your mouth and rinse away food particles. The apple is a magical fruit!
3. Go fish
According to the American Dietetic Association, the Omega-3 oils contained in fish lower your risk for periodontitis or gum disease. Coupled with the Vitamin D found in many seafaring sources like tuna and salmon, fish is a powerful and tasty benefit to a healthy mouth and body.
4. Nuts about a great smile
Much like apples, eating nuts helps keep teeth clean by stimulating saliva. Add a variety of nuts to your snack selection for a wealth of tooth-friendly vitamins, minerals and a natural clean.
5. Say cheese, and smile for the camera
Another dairy product rich in calcium to strengthen your teeth, natural cheeses provide whey protein as well. Your tooth enamel will thank you for each delicious piece of cheddar you pop in your mouth.
6. Salad greens
Another fiber-rich food that helps keep your mouth fresh -- leafy greens serve as a natural toothbrush. Chew your way to healthier gums and stimulate your mouth's natural defense against bacteria -- saliva.
7. Raisins, yum-yum for gums
For a nutritious snack that's loaded with antioxidants, reach for that box of raisins in your pantry. Raisins help prevent gum disease, one the leading causes of tooth loss.
8. Broccoli fights tooth decay
Your mother was right; eat your vegetables. Raw broccoli is an especially effective teeth-cleaning food choice. Broccoli’s fiber content reduces inflammation in gum tissue. Chock full of iron, it also provides a natural barrier to acids that can erode your tooth enamel.
9. Tea time is the right time for your teeth
Black and green teas bring polyphenols to the dental health table. These compounds hinder bacterial growth that causes gum disease and cavities. They even help fight bad breath, so drink up!
10. Fruits with Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps kill gum disease-causing bacteria. Citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, and papaya are excellent sources of Vitamin C. Keep a steady supply of tasty fruits like these in your diet for healthier gums, too. These fruits are rich in collagen, which is known to promote healing of the gums.
Add some flavor and variety to your meals while you develop healthy teeth and gums with these natural food choices. Combined with a good oral hygiene regimen and regularly scheduled visits to your dentist, they will sure keep you smiling.