The Perfect Diet for Healthy Teeth
Daily flossing and brushing habits do wonders in protecting your pearly whites, but what you eat has nearly as much effect on your teeth. Most people have the assumption that food can only negatively affect their teeth with all the sugars that cause cavities and acids that wear down the enamel. While there are foods that you should avoid or limit, there are also foods that you should incorporate into your diet.
When looking at what foods that have a positive impact on your teeth, it really breaks down to the nutrients that are found within the food. Below is a list of nutrients that are beneficial for your teeth with a little explanation of what benefit they provide.
- Vitamin D: Aids in immune functions, connective tissue strength and enamel remineralization.
- Vitamin A: Strengthens connective tissue and immune functions.
- Vitamin C: Periodontal ligament health as well as connective tissue strength.
- Vitamin B: Aids in epithelial cell turnover (basically balance of cell loss and formation)
- Iron, Antioxidants, Folate & Zinc: Strengthens connective tissues and immune functions.
- Calcium & Phosphorus: Strengthens tooth structure and aids in enamel remineralization.
- Protein: Aids in the development of connective tissues and strengthens tooth structure.
Foods to Incorporate into your diet
Now that we covered the nutrients your teeth and gums are craving, let’s highlight some of the foods that hold these nutrients and are a good idea to introduce into your diet if you haven’t done so already.
- Vitamin D rich foods: fish, egg yolks, mushrooms, cereal, oatmeal, dairy products.
- Vitamin C rich foods: citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, snow peas.
- Vitamin B rich foods: whole grains, red meat, eggs, dairy products, seeds and nuts, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens.
- Iron rich foods: red meat, dark leafy greens, dried fruit, peas, seafood.
- Antioxidant rich foods: grapes, blueberries, nuts, dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, tea.
- Folate rich foods: legumes, asparagus, eggs, beets, brussels sprouts, nuts, leafy greens, bananas.
- Zinc rich foods: red meat, shellfish, seeds, nuts, dairy, eggs, whole grain.
- Calcium rich foods: dairy, bread, fish, nuts, tofu, figs.
- Phosphorus rich foods: white meat, seafood, dairy, seeds, nuts, soy.
- Protein rich foods: meat, dairy, seafood, nuts, soy, eggs.
As you can see a lot of the foods contain more than one of these nutrients and can benefit the teeth in multiple ways. This is also not a full list of all the foods that contain the necessary nutrients for healthy teeth, but these are the most common and readily available foods.
What to avoid:
I’m sure the first thing that popped into your head when thinking about foods to avoid you thought of ones with high sugar content. While you do want to limit the amount of sugary foods you eat, when it comes to healthy teeth, this isn’t the main issue.
The issue is with the frequency of the consumption of these sugary foods. Soda is a big culprit here. Sipping on one can of soda throughout the day is more harmful to your teeth than chugging 3 cans in 10 minutes. When you sip on a sugary beverage, your mouth gets hit repeatedly with sugar. Most sodas are also highly acidic which promotes demineralization.
Avoiding hard candy such as lollipops and jolly ranchers is wise for this same reason.
Other types of food to avoid would be starchy foods such as chips, pretzels and soft bread that can get stuck in between your teeth promoting tooth decay.
Whenever you go to a dentist or orthodontist, the reason they always ask if you smoke or not is because smoking can cause issues to your gum and tooth health. The chemicals in tobacco products disrupt the natural flow of saliva in the mouth which leads to plaque and tartar build up.
In conclusion, if you focus on eating whole foods with plenty of fruits and veggies in the mix along with a proper oral hygiene routine, your teeth will maintain their health and stay pearly white. While the health of your teeth is something you can control, the alignment of them is a little more difficult. If you’re looking to straighten your teeth or close a gap, schedule a FREE consultation today with Yang Orthodontics to see how we can help!