Your teeth and gums are probably the highest maintenance part of your body. Not only do you have to scrub them every morning and night, but you have to be careful of what you eat in between, because if you get a cavity, you're going to pay the price in pain and pricey dental visits.
What you may not realize is that you can actually eat to promote good dental health. That's like an oxymoron, because we all know you don't want food remaining on your tooth. While you don't want anything staying in your teeth, some foods actually help your mouth cleanse itself. Here are five foods you should incorporate into your daily diet to promote good dental health.
1. Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, chards and spinach, have high concentrations of vitamins A and B. These vitamins are important to your gums, as they promote blood flow helping to strengthen your teeth.
Vitamin A also helps produce saliva, which washes away bacteria and helps keep your teeth clean and cavity free. Other sources of vitamin A would be sweet potatoes, carrots and fish.
Vitamin B helps prevent oral inflammation such as canker sores and other injuries inside the mouth. Red meats, almonds and dairy products also have healthy doses of vitamin B.
To supplement your vitamin intake, incorporate red superfood powder into your diet. It can help boost immunity and blood flow, both which benefit your oral health.
2. Cheese and Yogurt
Cheese and yogurt come loaded with culture, or bacteria, that is actually good for your mouth. These cultures reduce acid in your mouth, and they also remove bad bacteria.
Because cheese and yogurt are dairy products, they also provide plenty of calcium and phosphates. These help replenish minerals in your teeth that may have been lost during the digestion of other foods.
Apples are crunchy and fibrous. The action of eating an apple stimulates the gums and helps produce saliva. The saliva washes away any bacteria and food particles left behind after your meal, while the fibrous textures help wipe your teeth.
Other fruits and vegetables you can enjoy that have the same effect are carrots, celery, cucumbers, pears and lettuce. Eating an apple should not be used in place of a regular tooth brushing, but it can help you out in the meantime.
4. Green Tea and Black Tea
Green and black tea contain polyphenols. These are micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants. They mix with the plaque on your teeth and prevent bacteria from growing and producing acids that cause decay.
An added benefit of drinking tea is drinking tea you make at home. Your tap water has fluoride additives that help keep teeth strong. Many juices you can purchase in the store also have added fluoride. Always check the label to be sure.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is another good source of polyphenols. It helps your gums fight inflammation and it reduces acid production. While dark chocolate is a sweet, it also rinses from your teeth faster than other sweets. Just avoid dark chocolate mixed with nougat or cookie bits, as these can become trapped between your teeth and promote decay.
If you need to enjoy something sugary, choose dark chocolate, because it has other health benefits as well, including being a powerful source of antioxidants. Just don't overindulge.
Good gum and teeth health makes people want to smile more, and the more you can smile, the better you feel. Go ahead and enjoy a diet with lots of variety and nutrients. It turns out, many of those foods you love to indulge in, including fruits and dairy, are actually good for your teeth as well as your whole body. However, always make sure you still practice daily flossing and twice a day brushings. This isn't a cure for having high maintenance teeth. They're just a fact of life, so enjoy them and keep them strong.