To prevent cavities and maintain good oral health, your diet – what you eat and how often you eat – are important factors in maintaining healthy pearly whites. Changes in the chemistry of your mouth start the minute you eat certain foods. Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars from the foods you eat to acids, and it’s the acids that begin to attack the enamel on teeth, starting the decay process. Here are Health Fitness Revolution’s list of Best Foods (and drinks) for Healthy Teeth:
- Cheese: High in phosphate and calcium, cheese helps balance the pH in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.
- Sugar-free gum with Xylitol: The sugar replacement, which is found in many sugar-free gums and mints, is helpful because it prevents harmful bacteria in plaque from metabolizing sugar, thus generating harmful acids that degrade tooth enamel. In other words, it’s the anti-sugar – doing exactly the opposite of what sucrose can do, which is feed the bacteria.
- Raw Veggies like Celery: fresh veggies are good for teeth because their fibrous nature requires chewing, which causes an abundance of saliva. Celery is particularly good for the teeth because it breaks down into fibrous strands that naturally clean the enamel.
- Green Tea: Enjoyed for centuries in Asia, green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria leading to bad breath. To read the article we wrote on the health benefits of green tea, click here.
- Onions: They have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. These are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked.
- Tap Water: According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 67% of the United States population served by public water supplies, drink water with optimal fluoride levels for preventing decay.
That’s because fluoride remineralizes teeth, reversing damage caused by acids, which strip away the enamel layer.
- Pears: a 2004 study found that the fruit had a larger acid neutralizing effect on tooth surface than other types of fresh fruit.
- Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.
- Sesame Seeds: High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth & gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.
- Yogurt: Provides healthy casein, calcium and phosphates that remineralize the teeth.
Foods that contribute to a more acidic state in the body, which increases bacteria and creates inflammation such as:
- artificial preservatives
- artificial sweeteners
- food coloring
- high fructose corn syrup
- refined sugar
- refined flour
- dried fruits (high sugar content)
- partially hydrogenated oils