Ask anyone and they’ll probably be able to rattle off a few healthy foods that you should eat every day- vegetables, fruits, proteins. These foods are notorious for doing your body a whole lot of good- but what about your teeth? Are the foods that are so good for your body, just as good for your mouth? The answers may surprise you.
You know the expression, “You are what you eat,”? This not only applies to your body but your mouth as well. Your mouth is the gateway to your overall health and can provide telltale signs of the condition of your body. Just adding in a few of these foods each day can drastically improve not only your overall health but your mouth health as well. Read on for the 7 foods (and drinks) you should be snacking on right now to improve your smile.
Nutrient-rich nuts are a great source of calcium and protein. Nuts are essential for a balanced diet and are also incredibly filling. Low in carbohydrates and sugar, nuts aid in tooth decay prevention due to their low acidity and bacteria-fighting benefits. Chewing on nuts also increases saliva production and the more saliva, the less of a chance bacteria has to develop and hang around in your mouth. If you’re stumped on how to add nuts into your diet, try a handful of almonds for a quick afternoon snack, or add some to a salad for a protein boost at lunch or dinner.
2. Milk & Yogurt
Packed with protein and calcium, milk and yogurt are worthy additions to our list. Calcium and protein act as strengthening agents for teeth and strong teeth means an overall healthy mouth. Milk and plain yogurts are also low in sugar, which means a delicious and satisfying snack that won’t promote tooth decay. Not only that, but milk has been found to neutralize the acids produced in the mouth that can cause bacteria and protect the mouth from cavities if drank after desserts and other sweet treats (though not as a replacement for brushing or flossing).
3. Crunchy Vegetables
Vegetables should be a part of everyone’s diet as it is, but crunchy veggies specifically have a lot of benefits for teeth. Vegetables like celery and carrots are full of fiber which is a key nutrient that is known to strengthen teeth. Vitamins A and C are also antioxidants that can improve your gum health, which is crucial to the overall health of your mouth. Crunchy vegetables also act as a toothbrush by cleaning the teeth of food and any bacteria causing particles. Snack on celery or carrots either or with dips that are low in sugar.
4. Crunchy Fruits
Part of a healthy mouth is avoiding added sugars that increase your risk of tooth decay, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have sweet food in your diet. Fruits are nutrient dense and high in fiber just like their counterpart vegetables. Just like vegetables, aim for crunchy fruits- specifically apples. Apples have a high water and fiber content and also have the ability to clean your teeth. Different from vegetables, though, apples can stimulate the gums which make for food that has several benefits for your mouth.
5. Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens and swiss chard are all great examples of leafy greens that will get the job done. Full of vitamins, minerals and hopefully a staple in every diet, leafy greens are a low-calorie food that is high in calcium and folic acid which means the benefits for your mouth are endless. If you’re struggling to get your greens, try a green smoothie with banana, spinach, milk and berries.
Cheese lovers- rejoice! If you’re a fan of this savory snack, you’ll be happy to know there are numerous mouth health benefits you gain when eating cheese. Because cheese is packed with calcium and protein that strengthens tooth enamel, we already know it’s a treat of choice, but cheese decreases the risk of tooth decay by balancing the pH in your mouth (that is acidic) by acting as a base.
Water isn’t technically a food, we know, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. We want to drive home just how important water is not only for your body but also your mouth. Water acts rinses away any foods you may have eaten that are sticky, unhealthy or not good for your teeth. Water doesn’t replace brushing and flossing but can take its place until you have access to a toothbrush. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces in water each day.
To learn more about how to keep your mouth healthy, visit the team at West Chester Dental Arts and get more tips for the perfect smile. Make your appointment today!