A tooth’s worst enemy, is acid – either directly contained in the food and drink, or produced by bacteria that thrive on sugar and convert it to acid. The mouth’s best friends are foods that neutralize acids, provide minerals and vitamins to repair tooth enamel and stimulate saliva.
The Top 7 Best Foods and Drinks
1) High-fiber fruits and vegetables – High-fiber foods work like a detergent in the mouth, not only physically “scrubbing” the teeth, but also stimulating saliva flow by requiring longer chewing times. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense, because it neutralizes tooth-damaging acids, and contains calcium and phosphates that help rebuild minerals leached away by bacterial acids. Crunchy, juicy fruits and vegetables also have high water content that helps offset their sugar content. High-fiber foods are also a key foundation of an overall healthy diet, so they offer a double benefit.
2) Water – When it comes to oral health, water is indispensable. It’s the primary component of saliva, and is important to both tooth and gum health. Water is valuable as the final rinsing agent for foods and sugary drinks, and, if fluoridated, works to prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel.
3) Dairy products – Dairy products without added sugar help teeth in a number of ways. Cheese helps stimulate saliva, while its calcium helps replace minerals leached from the teeth. Other dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and similar products also provide calcium and phosphates; enriched milk also provides Vitamin D, which helps the body use calcium.
4) Xylitol – Sugarless gums of any kind can help boost dental health, because they stimulate saliva production and can help “scrub” teeth. But those sweetened with xylitol – a type of sugar extracted from a variety of plants – can actually battle tooth decay, because xylitol works against mutans streptococci, the bacteria that causes tooth decay. (More on Xylitol in an upcoming blog)
5) Green and black teas. These teas contain compounds called polyphenols that interact with the bacteria that causes plaque. These polyphenols either kill or suppress bacteria, preventing them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid. However, if you take sugar in your tea, it is not good.
6) Nuts – Many nuts provide vitamins and minerals that help your teeth. These include peanuts (calcium and vitamin D), almonds (high levels of calcium that helps both teeth and gums), cashews (stimulates saliva and helps clean teeth) and walnuts.
7) Minerals – Foods that provide vitamins A, C and D as well as calcium and phosphorus, are especially good for the teeth. These foods can be part of an overall healthy diet, as well. These include beef, eggs, fish, potatoes, spinach, tofu, leafy green vegetables, beans, and poultry.
NEXT BLOG……. Some Tooth-Healthy Do’s and Don’ts