While often overlooked, diet is an important aspect of maintaining healthy, long-lasting teeth. While it’s common knowledge that sugary foods contribute to weak teeth and an increased risk of cavities, what’s less understood are the foods that help improve tooth strength and appearance.
In this article, we cover some of the best and worst foods for your teeth. By the end, you’ll be amazed at how small changes to your diet can improve your smile and keep your teeth strong and healthy for years to come!
Best Foods for Your Teeth
While large amounts of dairy may not be the best for your waistline, moderate amounts of foods like cheese, yogurt, and milk are low in sugar and high in calcium, an important mineral for maintaining bone density. That means stronger teeth! Additionally, milk and cheese lower ph levels in the mouth, helping to fight tooth decay and strengthen enamel.
2. Leafy Greens
In addition to improving overall health by providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals, leafy greens are also great for your teeth. The calcium and folic acid found in leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula improve tooth strength as well as gum health. And, as if that isn’t enough, fibrous greens like spinach help clean your teeth while you eat!
Nuts, like almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews, are another important source of calcium. But, unlike dairy, regular consumption of nuts is great for your overall health as well. Nuts also contain tons of essential vitamins, including D, E, B6, potassium, and zinc. These vitamins improve tooth health while helping to fight harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
Worst Foods for Your Teeth
It should come as no surprise that high concentrations of sugar are bad for your teeth. Plaque bacteria use sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel, wearing it down and weakening your teeth over time. Consistent consumption of sugary treats like candy can eventually lead to cavities and tooth infection. Soft drinks, chewy candy, and sour candy are among the most harmful.
2. White Bread
While it may seem harmless enough, the refined starches and added sugar found in a plain piece of store-bought white bread can wreak havoc on your teeth. While you chew, your saliva breaks down starches into sugar. This sugar, in addition to the added sugar, often gets stuck between teeth and can cause cavities. To avoid excessive starch and added sugar, go with whole wheat bread instead.
While fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are loaded with vitamin C, they’re also extremely acidic. Citric acid erodes enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid these healthy fruits altogether! Practice moderation when it comes to citrus consumption, and rinse with water afterward to enjoy the full benefits of your favorite fruits without sacrificing the health of your teeth.