7 superfoods for your teeth
Here are a few specific foods that experts and research say you should work in your regular rotation for a healthier smile.
1. Tap water
H20 should be your drink of choice whenever possible, although you should avoid the bottled variety as most do not contain fluoride. âFluoride helps make teeth more resistant to the acid that can cause cavities,â says Matthew Messina, professor of clinical dentistry at the Ohio State University, College of Dentistry and spokesperson for the American Dental Association. The water itself also cleans your mouth with every sip, removing food scraps and acids that can cause cavities and tooth erosion.
Pay attention to: sugary drinks such as sodas, sports drinks and fruit juices. They’re filled with sugar that the bad bacteria in your mouth use to attack your tooth enamel. They are also acidic, which is bad for your teeth, and the caffeine in them can dry out your mouth.
Milk and other dairy products like cheese and yogurt are high in calcium and phosphates, which help replace minerals your teeth might have lost when you ate other types of foods. They also help rebuild tooth enamel and neutralize harmful acids in other foods. Cheese is particularly useful this way because it contains casein, a type of protein that research shows stabilizes and repairs tooth enamel, says Brian Novy, “dental chief” at Alliance Dental Center. from Quincy, Mass., and lecturer. on oral health policy and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Pay attention to: yogurt, which has been linked to an increased risk of tooth decay in children. This may be because children tend to eat yogurt that is high in sugar, Wolff explains. Stick to brands that have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving.
3. Fruits and vegetables
It doesn’t matter which type: âThey’re all good for your chompers,â says Novy. Why? They’re all high in water, which helps flush out harmful acids and debris in your mouth, and they’re high in fiber, which helps balance the sugars in them and helps clean your teeth. Crunchy, firm foods like carrots or celery that contain a lot of water are also great natural tooth cleaners because they stimulate the flow of saliva, which helps remove food particles and bacteria, says Novy. .
Pay attention to: citrus fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, grapefruits and tomatoes. Frequent exposure to such acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to tooth decay over time, according to the American Dental Association. âI have a lot of older patients who grow tomatoes in the summer so they can live on homemade tomato sauce, and it really takes a toll on them,â says Novy. âAs you get older, it becomes more difficult for your mouth to neutralize acids, so you see more damage to your teeth. Also watch out for dried fruits: they’re sticky, which means they can damage your teeth, as they tend to stay there longer than other types of food. If you eat something like raisins or prunes, rinse with water immediately afterwards, then brush and floss thoroughly.
4. Lean protein
Poultry, fish, eggs and lean cuts of beef are all high in phosphorus, a mineral that helps strengthen your teeth by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel, says Libby Mills, registered dietitian and national spokesperson. from the Academy of Nutrition. and Dietetics, based in Philadelphia. Protein is also important in helping repair gum tissue and the oral lining, both of which degrade with age, she adds. This can be a challenge for older people, nearly half of whom are already not getting enough protein. âThe biggest problem we see in older patients is that they are reluctant to eat protein because it becomes more difficult for them to chew, especially if they have already lost teeth,â says Wolff.
Pay attention to: Processed meats. A study published in January in the British Journal of Nutrition found that oral health problems such as tooth loss, dry mouth and gum disease in older people were associated with a diet high in fat. saturated, including processed meat.
5. Sugar-free gum
It is a serious saliva maker, which can aid in remineralization. Why? The increased flow adds more calcium and phosphate to your saliva, which helps strengthen tooth enamel, Mills says. Try chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after each meal and look for one that bears the American Dental Association seal of acceptance.
Pay attention to: hard candy. They are full of sugar, which can be harmful to your teeth. They can also trigger a dental emergency like a broken or chipped tooth.