When it comes to healthy eating for your teeth, it's common to think of what to avoid – like sticky lollies, soft drinks and other food and drink high in sugar and acids that wear down and damage teeth.
But a tooth-friendly diet isn't only about avoiding the bad stuff, it's also making sure you have a balanced diet that supports your oral health and overall health. Here are some of the best food choices for healthy teeth and gums.
Milk, cheese, yoghurt and other dairy products are among the best sources of calcium – an important mineral that helps to rebuild worn teeth and protect enamel against plaque. Natural yoghurts also contain beneficial bacteria that support good digestion.
If you don't eat dairy, alternatives such as almond milk and soy milk are also high in calcium, as are tofu, salmon and dark leafy vegetables.
Leafy green vegetables like chard, kale and spinach are rich in many important vitamins and minerals for health. These include calcium, that supports healthy teeth, and folic acid, a B vitamin that can help to prevent gum disease.
Vegetables also have the advantage of being low in calories, so you can pile as much on your plate or in your smoothies as you want, as long as you're sparing with dressings.
Crunchy fruit and veg
Crunching on apples, carrots and celery is beneficial for oral health in several ways, whether they're enjoyed alone as a snack or added to salads.
The act of chewing itself stimulates production of saliva that helps to remineralise tooth enamel, cleanse the teeth of leftover food, and neutralises plaque acids to prevent tooth decay.
Their fibrous texture also scrubs the teeth to remove plaque and leftover food from the surface, so you're helping to clean your teeth as you eat – though this shouldn't be a substitute for toothbrushing and regular dental check-ups.
Carrots and celery are also good sources of vitamin A and C, while the natural sugars in whole fruits are less harmful to teeth than processed sugars in fruit juices if you fancy a sweet treat.
Other good foods for teeth
Almonds are another plaque-fighting food that help to scrub the teeth and provide calcium while also being low in sugar.
Foods that are high in protein – such as meat, fish, eggs and tofu – contain phosphorus that works with calcium to rebuild and strengthen teeth. Phosphorus is also present in dairy, nuts and beans.
Fruit and vegetables containing vitamin C – including broccoli, citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes – can help to support healthy gums.
Your dentist or hygienist can provide more recommendations for a healthy diet and food swaps when you visit for your routine check-up and teeth cleaning.
Talk to a dentist in Everton Park or Mitchelton
Do you need more advice about your oral health, or has it been longer than 6 months since you visited the dentist? Call our friendly team at Swish Dental to book an appointment with our dentists at a time that's good for you.