Flossing and daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste are essential to healthy teeth, but did you realize how important nutrition is to your dental health? Eating a wide variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups supports healthy gums and teeth.
A well balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein foods, calcium-rich foods and whole grains provides all the necessary nutrients for general health as well as optimum oral health. Read the following tips on what to eat to have a healthy smile.
Of course, eating the right food cannot replace good oral hygiene, such as brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeking regular oral health care. It can, however, and it does affect our dental health to a large extent. If your diet is low in the nutrients that your body needs, your mouth may have a hard time resisting infection. Here is a list of food you need to include into your diet if you want to have a healthy smile.
Choose these foods for optimum oral health
- Vitamin C supports our gums, so make sure you eat broccoli, peppers, potatoes, spinach, citrus fruits and tomatoes.
- To have strong teeth eat foods that are rich in phosphorous, such as nuts, beans, dairy, eggs, fish and lean meat.
- Calcium-rich foods are perfect for strong bones and teeth, so include low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, fortified soy drinks and tofu, canned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables into your diet.
Stay away from foods high in carbohydrates, sugars and starches as they contribute to the production of plaque acids which attack the tooth enamel. In the end, these acids can make tooth enamel break down, forming a cavity. Try to control the amount of sugar you eat, read food labels and choose foods and drinks that are low in added sugars.
Smart snacks for a healthy smile
Smart snacking can keep your mouth in good shape, too. However, avoid frequent snacking between your meals as it makes acid attacks on your teeth more likely.
Choose wisely if you do snack. Resist the temptation to eat sugary treats such as hard or sticky candy and go for nutritious choices such as raw vegetables, fruits, plain yogurt or popcorn. And don’t forget to brush your teeth after snacking to stay away from any dental trouble. If the circumstances make it impossible for you to brush, at least rinse your mouth with water so that you can get rid of food particles.
What about babies?
If you are caring for a baby, don’t calm your infant, toddler or young child with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. The teeth and gums become more prone to tooth decay if a baby sucks on the bottle.