What you eat affects your health, teeth and gums. It helps to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases. Here, we explore some of the foods that can keep your teeth strong and healthy.
While a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins and unsaturated fats will benefit your overall oral health, there are a few standout foods and nutrients that are recommended.
Teeth and calcium
Drinking milk builds strong bones and teeth. Calcium is vital in childhood, and through our teenage years when our teeth are being formed. However, the value of this calcium does not stop once you get your wisdom teeth. Instead, having a calcium-rich diet will help prevent tooth decay.
The jawbone is particularly susceptible to the effects of low calcium, causing weakness, which may in turn be a risk factor for gum disease.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, and carrots are good for your teeth in two ways. The crisp texture acts as a detergent on teeth, wiping away bacteria that cause plaque. However, these foods require a lot of chewing, which increases the production of bacteria neutralising saliva.
While tea may stain teeth, the compounds in black tea can destroy or suppress the growth of cavity causing bacteria in dental plaque, which can help prevent both cavities and gum disease.
Drinking plenty of water benefits teeth as it helps rinse away both bacteria and the remnants of food that bacteria turn into plaque. It is therefore good to drink pretty of water after meals or eating something especially at times when you cannot access a toothbrush.
Foods to avoid
Sugary snacks and hard candies that stick in your teeth are at the top of every dentist’s list of foods to avoid. Regular soda provides a double hit to teeth, combining sugar with acids, which damages the teeth. Even foods and drinks that are good for your teeth such as milk contain sugars. But no matter what you eat, it is important to brush afterwards or at least to rinse your mouth with water.
The writer is a dentist