Many foods and beverages cause damage to our teeth without us even realising, whether it be from high acidity, sugar or from pigments in dark coloured foods and drinks like coffee.
With tooth decay and gum disease being one of the main causes of poor oral health, it’s important to know which foods are harmful and which are beneficial when maintaining good oral hygiene.
Which foods are beneficial for our oral health?
- Cheese and Yoghurt
- Leafy Greens and Shiitake Mushrooms
- Fruit (especially Apples)
- Carrots, Celery and Onions
- Fish (fatty fishes such as Salmon or Tuna)
Introducing these foods into your diet will have a positive impact on your overall health let alone your oral health.
A study published in June 2013’s issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the American Academy of General Dentistry found that eating cheese raised the pH levels in an individuals mouth and lowered their risk of decay.
The chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva which neutralises acids in your mouth by washing away the acidic residue. Cheese also contains calcium and protein and nutrients that helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Like cheese, yoghurt is high in calcium and protein which helps your enamel. The probiotics in yoghurt (good bacteria) benefit your gums and teeth by the good bacteria outweighing the bad. As well as Yoghurt and Cheese, Almonds are also high in protein and calcium.
Leafy greens such as Kale and Spinach are great for your diet as well as your oral health. As they are full of vitamins, minerals, and are high in calcium they help build and strengthen your teeth’s enamel. As well as being high in calcium, they contain folic acid (a type of vitamin B) which has multiple health benefits including treating gum disease. They also contain vitamin C which boosts productivity of red blood cells in your body which helps reduce inflammation which is beneficial when preventing gum disease.
Celery is helpful when caring for you oral health as it acts as a toothbrush, similar to eating an apple. Celery scrapes away food particles and harmful bacteria from your teeth and gums. It contains Vitamins A and C and two antioxidants which provides you with an oral health boost.
Adding onions and shiitake mushrooms to your diet is equally as beneficial as they contain antibacterial compounds, that target the harmful types of bacteria (that cause gum disease and cavities) and reduces their build up.
Fruits like apples contain fibre and water which helps produce saliva. The texture of an apple is known to stimulate the gums and acts as a brushing technique; however it is imperative to remember it does not brush your teeth and doesn’t count as brushing.
Which foods are harmful?
Staying away from sugary food and drinks is always recommended when taking care of your gums and teeth. Foods and drinks which are high in sugar and/or acid tend to leave your teeth vulnerable to erosion, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Specifically sweets and fizzy drinks harm our oral health the most, but also foods you wouldn’t expect…
- Bread: when you chew bread your saliva breaks down the starch and turns it into sugar which tends to stick to your teeth
- Alcohol: drinking alcohol can cause your mouth to become dry, when your mouth is dry and lacking saliva, it isn’t washing away potentially harmful particles
- Ice: research shows that chewing on ice damages your enamel and could result in chipped or broken teeth
- Citrus: although citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, their acid content causes your enamel to erode
- Crisps: like bread, they are starch based which turns into sugar due to saliva and gets stuck in between your teeth
- Dried fruit: they can be a healthy snack but as they are sticky/chewy they get stuck in your teeth and leave behind a lot of sugar. It’s recommended to swill your mouth out with water after eating them.
To keep your teeth and mouth in optimum health regular check-ups are a must, so please contact us here.