Growing up, we all remember hearing, “Don’t eat that, it’s bad for your teeth”! With so many foods falling into this category, it is nice to know there are a great number of foods that improve your dental health. Just in time for the holidays when we all tend to eat sweets, there are some great options…even Sweet Potatoes (that also happen to be one of Dr. Hasting’s favorite foods)!
Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth
It is important to know that enamel is a tooth’s first line of defense against decay. You are at a higher risk for cavities or sensitivity if the enamel on your teeth is eroded or damaged. Eating foods high in calcium can help strengthen your tooth enamel by eating foods high in calcium. In addition, adding foods rich in vitamin D to your diet will allow your body to better absorb the calcium that healthy teeth need.
The best choices for healthy teeth are foods with:
- Calcium. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt are calcium staples that don’t add unhealthy saturated fat to your diet. Hard cheese in particular also helps neutralize the acids found in foods that threaten tooth enamel. Other good sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables like kale, bok choy, and even Brussels sprouts, which deliver a healthy boost of vitamin C, too.
- Vitamin D. Egg yolks, mushrooms, and most fish are excellent sources of the vitamin D you need to absorb calcium, which builds and maintains healthy teeth.
- Vitamin C. Red peppers and sweet potatoes can provide the vitamin C necessary for healthy gums, which help keep your teeth firmly in place. Citrus fruits like oranges are also high in vitamin C, but you have to be careful of their acidity.
- A healthy crunch. The crisp texture of crunchy fruits and vegetables can help wipe away plaque-causing bacteria on your teeth. They can also increase the production of saliva, which helps neutralize bacteria in your mouth. Apples, pears, celery, and carrots are all good choices. However, even a healthy food like an apple can expose teeth to damaging acid when eaten slowly. To reduce the impact of acid, brush your teeth before eating and drink water or rinse immediately after.