Most of us know that food and beverages that are high in sugar are not good for our teeth. Plaque (or bacterial build up) feeds on sugar and many foods we eat contain sugar. Other foods we may not think about, such as starches, break down into sugar. The more sugar you consume throughout the day, the more plaque builds up on our teeth. As the bacteria feeds, it produces acid. The acid is what eats away at your teeth, causing tooth decay.
Ideally, we could brush our teeth after each meal, but that’s not always feasible. It’s a good thing there are foods that benefit your mouth (and the rest of you, too). Pretty much any crunchy food that takes a while to chew: raw veggies and nuts especially, stimulate saliva production and scrubs your teeth as you chew it down to small pieces.
Celery (and other greens)
Even though you may get some stuck from time to time, the texture of celery actually helps remove plaque. Celery, like most greens, contains good bacteria and is packed with vitamins that act as antioxidants and have immune-boosting properties. Vitamins, such as vitamin A help to build healthy enamel to protect your teeth from tooth decay. The vitamin C found in celery helps fight inflammation of the gums. Celery is also rich in fiber, which helps neutralize acid.
Like celery, carrots contain Vitamin A. Vitamins A and D affect keratin production. Your hair, nails, and skin are all highly composed of keratin. In October 2014, a study found a link between hair disorders and dental decay. Turns out that keratin helps form dental enamel.
Crunchy veggies, like carrots, help clean your teeth. This makes them an excellent snack in between meals (and brushing). When combined with your saliva, it helps wash away stain causing bacteria and food particles.
Commonly known as “Nature’s Tooth Brush,” because the skin and flesh of the apple provide a similar function as a toothbrush. The texture works to remove plaque. Because they’re mildly acidic, they fight bacteria and work to combat bad breath. They’ll help brighten your smile and fight bacteria.
Yogurt, Especially Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps all of your skeletal bones, and helps keep your enamel strong. Yogurt also works to make your mouth less acidic, which in turn combats bacteria.
The best yogurt is sugar free and plain. Greek yogurt is especially beneficial because of the amount of probiotics. Probiotics are viable bacterial, great for the gut and your teeth. Studies show that it’s likely useful for the prevention and treatment of oral diseases.
Raw Nuts: Almonds, Cashews, and Walnuts
Almonds are rich in calcium. Cashews stimulate saliva and actually work to clean your teeth. Walnuts contain a slew of vitamins and minerals that all benefit your teeth: vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, thiamine, magnesium, folic acid, iron, and zinc.
In fact, most nuts can help your teeth. For optimal health, opt for unsalted nuts.
The Big Picture
Overall, vitamin and nutrient rich foods are good for your teeth. Just because you may eat these foods in abundance doesn’t mean you should toss your toothbrush. As much as eating right benefits your teeth, so do regular exams and cleaning. If you’re in the Brandon / Riverview, Florida area, schedule an appointment for your regular cleanings to further help prevent tooth decay.