Your diet directly affects your mouth not only by building healthier teeth and gums but also by helping avoid tooth decay and periodontal disease. A healthy diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and unsaturated fats will benefit not only your dental health but also improve your overall oral health and will minimize your visits to your family dentist. How should you eat to protect your teeth and gums? What do you need to eat more of and what should you avoid?
Keep reading to find out.
1. Vitamin C
Your body requires vitamin C to repair connective tissue and help your immune system deal with various infections. According to a study at the State University of New York at Buffalo, people who consume less than the recommended 75 to 90 mg of Vitamin C per day are 25 percent more likely to develop gum inflammation (gingivitis) than people who consume three times the recommended daily allowance. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease that causes redness, swelling, and inflammation of the gums, as well as bleeding.
Consuming one piece of citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines every day will help you meet the recommended daily amount for vitamin C.
You’ve probably heard that tea is able to stain your teeth, but scientists have found that compounds found in black tea can destroy or suppress the growth of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque, which can help you avoid both cavities and periodontal disease.
Moms often tell their children that drinking milk builds strong bones and teeth. Calcium is crucial in childhood. But when teeth are formed, the value of this nutrient still doesn't stop. A diet containing adequate amounts of calcium might help protect you from tooth decay. When a diet is low in this mineral, your body leeches it from your teeth and bones, raising your risk of tooth decay and multiple cavities. According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, people who have a calcium intake of less than 500 mg, or about half the recommended dietary allowance, are almost twice as likely to develop periodontal disease than people who meet the recommended intake.
Your jawbone is especially susceptible to the effects of calcium deficiency. It can get weaker due to low calcium intake, which in turn leads to loose teeth, leaving you at higher risk for periodontal disease and tooth loss.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, an average person needs 1,000mg of calcium daily. Calcium is contained in abundance in dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, in fish like sardines with bones and salmon, and in certain vegetables such as kale and broccoli. Consuming two to four servings of dairy per day will help you get the recommended daily dose of calcium.
4. Fruits and vegetables
Crunchy fruits and vegetables, including apples, pears, celery, and carrots are great for your teeth in two ways. The crisp texture acts as a detergent on teeth, which washes away bacteria that contribute to plaque. Plus these foods need a lot of chewing, which increases the production of bacteria-neutralizing saliva.
Getting plenty of water is extremely beneficial for your teeth since it helps wash away both bad bacteria and food particles that bacteria use to create plaque. Tap water is better for teeth than bottled as it contains fluoride, which prevents tooth decay.
Foods to Avoid
It’s no secret that sugary snacks, especially gummy candies and hard candies can ruin your dental health. Regular soda provides a double hit to teeth, combining sugar with acids.
Even foods and beverages that are good for your teeth, like milk, have sugars. No matter what you consume, it's still essential to brush and floss afterward, or at least rinse your mouth with water. Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day and use either a manual or power toothbrush, and don’t skip your regular visits to a dentist.