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Kristen Mott is the associate editor for Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics.
Nutrition is essential when it comes to promoting good oral health for your patients.
We all know the foods that are bad for patients’ teeth: sticky candy, carbonated beverages, potato chips and ice, just to name a few. But what about foods that are actually good for your teeth and gums?
The foods and beverages we consume can have a major impact on our oral health. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is key to ensuring that teeth and gums stay strong and healthy for years to come.
To help your patients on their journey toward healthy teeth, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 foods that are good for teeth and gums.
Continue to the next page to see which foods made the list.
Cheese lovers, rejoice! This dairy product has been shown to boost dental health and restore enamel thanks to its high levels of calcium and whey protein, according to Delta Dental. However, try to stick with natural cheese as processed cheese products like dips and sprays can wear down enamel and increase your chance for cavities.
Another dairy product makes the top of the list: milk. Milk not only helps build strong bones but also can protect your tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorous needed to remineralize teeth, according to WebMD.
3. Raw vegetables
Chewing raw vegetables like celery and carrots can help stimulate your gums and in turn maintain the health of your teeth, according to Livestrong.com. As an added bonus, carrots and celery also are sources of beta carotene, which the body needs to create Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a key nutrient for building strong teeth.
Apples have been called “nature’s toothbrush,” and for good reason! Apples stimulate the gums and reduce the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria, according to an article in Reader’s Digest. Chewing an apple also stimulates saliva flow, which can help to decrease mouth acidity and wash away food particles.
5. Leafy greens
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale have been touted for their health benefits. It turns out they can promote oral health, too. Colgate’s Oral Care Center notes that leafy greens are high in calcium, which helps build your teeth’s enamel, and they contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has several health benefits and may even be able to treat gum disease in pregnant women.
Omega-3 fish oils DHA and EPA have been shown to reduce the risk of periodontitis, says research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. In addition, cold water fish such as tuna, trout and wild salmon are good sources of vitamin D and heart-healthy fats.
Chewing on nuts can produce extra saliva, which helps to neutralize bacteria that causes cavities, states an article in The Times of India. A handful of almonds can provide you with plenty of calcium while walnuts contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, potassium and zinc, which are beneficial for teeth.
According to an article from BBC News, scientists have discovered that a compound in cranberries can stop bacteria from clinging to the teeth and block formation of plaque deposits. It’s best to stick with fresh cranberries though as items like cranberry juices and other cranberry-containing products can be high in sugar.
9. Black and green tea
OK, while not technically a food, we couldn’t pass up noting the health benefits of black and green tea. Black and green teas are rich in polyphenols, which can help slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease, states an article on LiveScience.com. Polyphenols in black tea can also help fight bad breath.
While raisins may seem detrimental to oral health due to their sticky appearance and sweet taste, the opposite may in fact be true. WebMD cites a study in which researchers found certain phytochemicals found in raisins appear to actually fight bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities and gum disease. Raisins also don’t contain sucrose, which many experts believe to be the main cause of some oral diseases.