Diet plays a role in every aspect of our lives—the foods we eat provide the nutrition we need to stay healthy, but they also play a direct role in our oral health. The choices we make regarding meals and snacks are an important part of keeping our teeth and gums healthy. Good food choices should be regular habits, built into your day as part of a strong oral health care routine. While a well-balanced diet focused on healthy, natural foods is of course the best, some foods are better than others. Let’s take a look at some of the best foods for oral health.
- Dairy: dairy products in all of their forms can be helpful in promoting oral health. Milk, yogurt, cream, cheese (all-natural dairy) contributes to your teeth and gums. Dairy products contain calcium and protein, which help strengthen teeth and gums. For probiotic dairy products like natural yogurts with no added sugar, the beneficial bacteria help keep gums healthy by crowding out harmful microorganisms that can cause infections.
- Leafy Greens: leafy green vegetables are healthy for us in so many different ways, but they can also play an important role in keeping your smile healthy. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, they’re great for overall health. However, they’re also rich in calcium, which helps keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. Folic acid and B vitamins are also great for preventing gum disease. Making leafy greens a regular part of your diet is an important step in building overall health.
- Apples: Apples have long been considered a healthy food, and are a traditional part of oral health care. The fibrous texture stimulates saliva production and can help your mouth’s natural cleaning processes. Apples are not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can help keep your mouth clean in between your oral health care routine.
- Carrots and Celery: Like apples, carrots and celery are likely to be found on any list of healthy foods. They contribute minerals and vitamins that support oral health, while like apples adding fiber can support the mouth’s natural cleaning processes. They’re both great sources of Vitamins A and C, which support gum health and the immune system. It’s easy to work more of each into your diet, making them convenient as well.
- Almonds and other nuts: Nuts are great for oral health as they’re naturally full of calcium and protein while being naturally low on sugar. They’re also a convenient snack food, easy to eat on the go during a busy day. For those of us with packed schedules, they can be a real gift in forming a healthy diet.
Just as it’s important to include healthy foods in our diet, maintaining oral health means avoiding unhealthy ones. Candy, sugary drinks, and other artificially sweetened foods can contribute to poor oral health by promoting cavities and gum diseases. Good eating habits, coupled with a regular oral health care regimen and dentist visits, can help build a smile that will last a lifetime!