Oral health and total health are intertwined. So when you make a decision to eat better, your teeth and gums will reap the benefits.
We know that navigating diet advice can be a bit overwhelming, but these dentist-approved nutrition tips are sure to help you work towards a healthier lifestyle – and healthier teeth, too!
Pack Your Diet
Filling up on healthy foods leaves less room for unhealthy options, plus reduces the urge to indulge in them. Focus on whole foods with high nutritional value.
Choose Fresh Fruit
Stick with fresh fruit over dried varieties and juices. Dried fruit can stick between the teeth, increasing the potential for harmful bacteria to multiply. Did you know they can also be filled with added sugar? Even though fruit contains natural sugars, which become more concentrated through drying, many brands add additional sugar, which makes dried fruit even worse for your teeth.
Also, stay away from fruit juice and smoothies. These tend to also have a ton of added sugar and no fiber to help prevent sugars from sticking to teeth. If you must, stick to 100% juice or add a small piece of your favorite fruit to a refreshing glass of water.
Load Up on Fresh Vegetables
We all know that vegetables are good for our health, but they are also great for our teeth. Veggies have lots of helpful vitamins and minerals that promote tooth and gum health. Leafy greens (think kale and spinach) even have calcium to promote enamel and jaw health.
Raw vegetables are great options for snacks. Crunchy veggies, especially those with a high water content like carrots and celery, can help remove plaque and cleanse teeth. They also stimulate your jaw and your gums, which is beneficial to your oral health.
Don’t Neglect Calcium
Kids are often encouraged to drink plenty of milk for strong bones. But what about adults? Calcium plays an important role in keeping bones healthy at any age. This is vital for oral health because the strength of your jawbone affects tooth and gum health. Calcium also strengthens tooth enamel.
Find calcium in dairy products, such as milk and cheese. If you have a dietary restriction that prevents you from consuming these options, consider taking a calcium supplement with vitamin D.
Go For Fish
Seafood is an excellent protein source that packs in nutrition. Fatty fish like salmon are high in omega-3s that boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower your risk of gum disease and even have antibacterial properties.
What to Avoid
Sugary and acidic foods are bad for your teeth. Of course, many of these options are also not great for your overall health.
Stay Away From Sugar
Processed sugary treats are your health’s nemesis. Sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth, contributing to tooth decay. It is also associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other health problems.
Avoid Processed Starch
Just because something isn’t a desert does not mean it does not contain sugar. Many heavily processed foods that seem healthy sneak in added sugar. Even if that is not the case, processed carbs (like white bread) can get stuck between teeth and converted to sugar in the mouth.
Watch out for Acidic Foods
Acidic foods like juice and soda pop can erode tooth enamel. These choices become doubly bad when you consider that they frequently contain added sugar as well.
Maximize Your Oral Health
A healthy diet rich in whole foods goes a long way toward optimizing the health of your teeth and gums. Remember to also practice good habits like brushing twice a day and flossing daily. And don’t forget to call our office to schedule your check-up and cleaning every six months!