The importance of a healthy diet is well-documented. From the saying “you are what you eat” to the clinically documented effects of a nutrient-rich diet compared to nutrient-deficient foods, it’s hard to find a website, blog, or magazine that doesn’t include information about what to eat.
While many of these suggestions can be passed off as fad diets, a healthy diet helps with all types of physical and mental conditions, including arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and even depression.
It’s also true that the health of your teeth, gums, jaw, and oral soft tissue depends on the quality of what you eat.
Here at Loudoun Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Leesburg, Virginia, our expert dentists Haidy Messih, DDS, and Basma Armanious, DMD, are committed to helping you improve and protect your oral and overall health. In addition to dental cleanings and restorative treatments, we offer advice on choosing the best foods for your oral health.
These are our top choices for foods that provide the most benefits to your teeth.
You’ve heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, apples and other firm, crunchy fruits like pears have a high water content and require lots of chewing, which stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps break down food and cleans your mouth of bacteria and any stray food particles.
These fruits are also rich in fiber, stimulating your gums and acting as a mild tooth astringent, helping to keep them pearly white. You should also eat the skin of the fruit, as most benefits are found there.
Leafy greens also have a high water content. As you chew your salad, you produce plenty of saliva to wash away sugars, plaque, and stray food particles.
Choose a variety of greens such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and collard greens to help keep your mouth healthy. These delicious greens are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help combat tooth decay and cavity formation.
As an added bonus, they’re also high in calcium, which helps remineralize weakened teeth.
Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, among other things. While you may know that calcium is critical to bone development, it’s also essential for developing strong tooth enamel.
Healthy tooth enamel is your first defense against cavities and decay. The calcium found in dairy products contributes to the remineralization process. Remineralization replaces missing minerals in weak tooth enamel.
Yogurt and kefir are two calcium-rich dairy options that contribute to overall oral health. In addition to being calcium rich, these products also contain probiotics that promote good gut flora as well as beneficial mouth bacteria that fight the cavity-causing variety.
If you’re lactose intolerant or don’t eat dairy products, green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are also high in calcium. You can find calcium in tofu, canned salmon, and leafy greens.
Any type of nuts, from almonds to walnuts, are great options for maintaining a healthy mouth. The chewing action needed to break them down for digestion increases saliva production, and the chewing activity strengthens your jaw.
Nuts also contain essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy teeth and gum tissue. Nuts are high in protein, making them excellent options for vegetarians and vegans.
While nuts are nutrient rich, they do contain a high amount of fat. Make sure to keep your serving sizes reasonable so you don’t solve one problem while creating another.
Coconut oil has antioxidant properties and has a long history of oral detoxification. The oil draws toxins out of your mouth, creating an antiseptic environment that helps prevent cavities and gum disease.
Coconut oil also acts as a natural antifungal and antiviral, which reduces your risk of tooth decay, kills bad breath, and helps heal bleeding gums.
For personalized advice on keeping your mouth healthy, as well as expert dental care, call our office or book an appointment online today.