There is more to good oral health than just brushing and flossing regularly. What else can you do to improve your oral health? Eat a healthy diet with a variety of foods and beverages. The foods you eat and beverages you drink impact the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. To celebrate Children’s Dental Month, read on to see which foods are good for healthy teeth and gums!
Nutrition and Dental Health
The foods you eat and beverages you drink contribute to good or bad dental health. Certain foods and beverages can put you at risk for tooth decay and cavities. Not only do we need healthy teeth and gums to eat nutritious foods, but those nutritious foods will help give us healthy teeth and gums.
Good Dental Hygiene
Keep your teeth clean by brushing your teeth and tongue with a soft toothbrush and fluorinated toothpaste daily. Use dental floss to remove any food particles from between your teeth. Lastly, visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and detect any dental problems. Also, chewing sugar free gum and rinsing with mouthwash can help.
How Does Nutrition Impact Your Oral Health?
There’s more to oral health than brushing and visiting the dentist. A healthy diet with options from all food groups is needed for good oral health. A diet lacking healthy choices can lead to poor dental health including cavities and gum disease. For example, drinking too many sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to cavities. Too many cavities can lead to tooth loss and without replacement you may not be able to eat all your favorite foods!
Foods for Healthy Teeth and Gums
Foods for healthy teeth and gums include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. The following nutrients are important for healthy teeth and gums: fluoride, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C. Include a variety of foods during the day and week.
Choose Lean Proteins
Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are high in protein and phosphorus. Protein and phosphorus are needed for tooth structure. Also, phosphorus protects and rebuilds tooth enamel. (1) Also, meats require more chewing which increases saliva which can wash any leftover food particles in your mouth. (2)
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in water, fiber, and vitamins. The high water and fiber content helps clean the teeth. The fiber also helps keep teeth and gums clean.
Fruits and vegetables contain two important vitamins: vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C is important for maintaining healthy gums and vitamin A is important for building tooth enamel and saliva production. (2) Fruits and vegetables are also low in sugar and do not contribute to cavities. Berries, broccoli, kiwi, and sweet potatoes are great choices! (2)
Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, celery and carrots are nature’s dental floss. They help remove food particles from the mouth and increase saliva production. In addition, they have vitamins and minerals needed for healthy teeth and gums.
Calcium Rich Foods
Foods’ high in calcium such as milk, calcium-fortified tofu and non-dairy milks, nuts, yogurt, and leafy green vegetables are good foods for healthy teeth. Calcium helps strengthen your teeth. Sensitive to dairy? Choose calcium-fortified beverages and non-dairy yogurt, leafy greens, or tofu.
Building a Healthy Smile
In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, your food choices also impact your dental health. There are many foods, both good and bad for your dental health. Include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low sugar dairy products and water for strong teeth and gums. Eat a variety of foods to maintain good dental health.