We often talk about the foods that increase a person’s rate for developing tooth decay. Candy, soda, juice or sports drinks may come to mind. But what about foods that decrease a person’s risk for tooth decay? Those exist as well, even if they don’t get as much attention. Many foods naturally help promote healthier teeth and gums, decreasing a person’s risk for developing diseases like gum disease and cavities.
Think Fresh and Crispy
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. Biting and chewing into the crispy texture of an apple, carrot or celery helps naturally cleanse bacteria from the surface of the tooth. Chewing these foods also helps stimulate saliva production, which lubricates the teeth to help repel possible decay bacteria. Put down the juice and eat the actual fruit. Not only is it good for your teeth, but it’s also beneficial to your immune and digestive systems.
Choosing whole grains over refined or processed flour can allow for more intake of iron, magnesium, vitamin B and fiber, all of which promote healthy gums, bones and teeth.
Get Enough Calcium
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, even harder than bone. When our teeth are still developing it is important to get enough calcium in our diets to help our children’s teeth form properly. Cheese, milk, yogurt, broccoli, as well as some nuts and beans are all good sources of calcium.
While tea can cause more stain on some people’s teeth, it also helps fight plaque and bacteria from building up in the mouth. Not only does it help fight cavities but it also promotes healthy gums, decreasing your risk for periodontal (gum) disease. Green or black tea should be drunk without sweetener if you want to benefit from the antibacterial effects. Otherwise, sweetened tea will only increase your risk of tooth decay. A tip for keeping your teeth bright and white is to drink tea through a straw to minimize staining.
Selecting tap water (to drink or make your tea with) over bottled water is better for your teeth. Municipal water supplies are required to regulate fluoride levels for optimal decay prevention. On the other hand, bottled water may or may not contain fluoride and it’s impossible to know how much it does. Children that have permanent teeth still developing should drink tap water over bottled water, and so should adults that are prone to developing tooth decay. Westfield, Mountainside, Cranford and most other local towns all have adequate levels of fluoride in the water.
Xylitol Gum: When you can’t brush…Chew!
Gums that contain Xylitol actually fight tooth decay, repel bacteria and strengthen tooth enamel. If you’re going to chew gum, then choose one with Xylitol that promotes optimal oral health. Professionals suggest trying to get at least 5 Xylitol exposures each day to truly benefit from its anti-plaque capabilities.