A healthy diet that is also tooth-friendly is something that eludes many families. Finding healthy choices everyone will enjoy is difficult when each family member has their own likes and dislikes. However, the good news is that tooth-friendly foods and drinks can also double as excellent choices for healthy snacks. Here are some wise food choices that are both healthy and tooth-friendly.
Two excellent choices for tooth-friendly foods are cheese and yogurt. First, they are both convenient foods that can be eaten on the go or popped into lunch bags. Next, there are many different flavours of yogurt as well as different types of cheeses, making it easier to find something everyone can enjoy. Because low calcium intake increases risk for periodontal disease, enjoying more dairy like cheese and yogurt just makes good sense. Add to that the fact that it is thought cheese can help prevent tooth decay, and you really need to look no further for a tooth-friendly solution.
Because cheese can also raise the pH level in your mouth, and low pH levels can increase risk for tooth erosion, choosing higher-pH foods is an excellent way to reduce acidity. Yogurt does the same, but also provides healthful probiotics as well. The probiotics help reduce bad bacteria in your mouth which leads to tooth decay, and also improves healthy bacteria in the tummy for a win-win situation.
Let’s not forget a cold glass of milk as a healthy drink choice. Milk is a pure source of calcium, ideal for older adults who are at risk of periodontal disease. But people of all ages can enjoy their milk, with 1% being the best choice to repair tooth enamel, help prevent cavities and even protect your arteries.
You know the old saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, the same can be said for your dentist. Apples are excellent treats as they are sweet and crunchy, easy to tote about and taste delicious. Although some might say their sweetness and acidity are a recipe for disaster when it comes to healthy teeth, they also contain high water content. This actually works to outweigh the dangers of the natural sugar, as the sugar is removed while you enjoy your apple. With this production of saliva, food particles in your mouth are washed away, making apples a great choice as a “dessert” after meals.
Almonds are one of the best sources of calcium and protein, making them an excellent choice for kids, and protein-obsessed parents and adults alike. They are even thought to help repair tooth enamel, as an added benefit. They are low in sugar, have a satisfying crunch, yet are quite soft and tooth-friendly. Almonds are easy to carry around for snacking and can be added to salads too.
Vitamin D-Packed Salmon
Salmon is a heart-healthy choice providing plenty of healthy Omega 3s. However, salmon also contains tons of Vitamin D. Why is this good for your teeth? Because Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium, a big friend of bone and teeth health. Add to that the fact salmon also contains a good amount of calcium, and you’ve got an all-around superfood with more than a few health benefits.
Another kid-friendly choice, strawberries pack a healthy wallop of antioxidants as well as Vitamin C. However, where they really help your teeth is through their malic acid. This lesser-known compound is actually a natural enamel-whitener that is so effective, many ‘in-the-know’ people mix crushed strawberries with baking soda to create a homemade toothpaste to clean and whiten their teeth. If this does not sound appealing, no worries. You can simply eat this delectable treat and still get the benefits. The only caveat is the seeds can get lodged in or between your teeth. A quick floss will help remove any seeds left behind.
Heart- And Teeth-Healthy Leafy Greens
Eating leafy greens like kale or spinach helps produce saliva. Between the healthy saliva production and the scrubbing action of the greens themselves, you have a natural way to keep your teeth and mouth clean and healthy. However, greens also contain calcium, so for those who aren’t big on dairy or are lactose-intolerant, a healthy salad or side of greens provides just as much calcium as a glass of milk.
Chew Sugarless Gum
The action of chewing is important as it produces saliva. Saliva is needed to wash away acid and debris in your mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum therefore not only keeps your breath fresh but also helps keeps your entire mouth clean. Choose gum containing xylitol, as it also kills bacteria. Chewing sugarless gum is one of those good teeth habits to share with your kids.
Water is always the healthiest choice of all healthy drinks available. It is pure, without harmful ingredients, and when taken from the tap also provides teeth-healthy fluoride (in communities with a water-fluoridation program in place). Water also washes away harmful bacteria and acids from your mouth and keeps your mouth moist.
Although you might choose to avoid tea because of its teeth-staining properties, remember it also inhibits the growth of bacteria that can lead to cavities. Black and green tea are teeth-friendly drinks that help reduce acid in your mouth. If you are worried about staining, green tea is lighter and won’t cause dark stains. As well, tea is an excellent choice to help prevent plaque buildup while avoiding enamel erosion.
Of course, you should only drink tea without the sweeteners, including honey, as these have the opposite effect and can promote tooth decay. If you choose dark teas, always rinse your mouth with water afterwards so the tannins can’t cause staining.
Understanding the healthier choices available that promote healthy teeth and gums makes avoiding teeth problems easier. These food choices can be enjoyed on their own, or added to your favourite recipes.