Healthy Diet, Healthy Teeth: 7 Foods that Prevent Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

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Establishing good oral habits is the first step in preventing common dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Aside from visiting the dentist regularly, you should also take note of the foods that you’re eating. After all, you are what you eat and in no better place can that be reflected other than in your teeth. Eating foods that are high in sugar and acidity can encourage plaque buildup, which we all know is bad for your teeth.

Plaque is a sticky film that’s full of bacteria and can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. It attacks the enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities and other oral health problems. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of which foods enter your mouth to preserve the health of your teeth and gums. Today we’ll be discussing healthy food choices that are not only great for your body, but are also beneficial to your teeth. Here are 7 foods that can help prevent plaque buildup:

  1. Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a main staple in a healthy diet. They’re rich in fibre and antioxidants that help absorb vital nutrients from food and help fight free radicals in the body. When consumed, fruits and vegetables act as a detergent on the surface of your teeth. These foods trigger saliva production when chewed which helps protect your tooth enamel from sugars and bacteria.

This increased saliva production acts as a dual-layer protection that scrubs the surface of the teeth and finishes with saliva breaking down the starches and sugars that can cause cavities.

  1. Dairy

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and plain yogurt are good sources of vitamin D, protein, and calcium. These foods help strengthen your teeth with the minerals they need to become resilient to bacteria and tooth decay. Ideally, you want to consume dairy products that are low in sugar so you can minimise plaque buildup 

  1. Nuts and seeds

Pistachios, macadamia nuts, and sesame seeds contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids that work as anti-inflammatory agents to prevent gum disease. Plus, they are packed with essential nutrients for healthy bodily function. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon are also great for the gums and deliver the same gum protection found in nuts and seeds.

  1. Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are known for their delicious flavour and health benefits. It contains important vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that boost your immune system and improve immune function. Not only that, but shiitake mushrooms are also rich in lentinan. Lentinan brings anti-inflammatory properties by attacking the bacteria behind gum disease which makes it ideal for boosting your oral health as well.

  1. Green tea or black tea

Some dentists encourage their patients to drink green tea or black tea because it is high in catechins which is another gum disease-fighting agent. Green tea also helps to reduce bacteria in your mouth and lower your risk of developing oral cancer. But before drinking your favorite tea, don’t forget to cut off the sweeteners. Sugar and honey can still promote cavities, even when you drink them with green tea because of the sugar.

  1. Sugar-free gum

Sugar-free gum is great for increasing saliva production and rinsing away food particles on the surface of your teeth. It also helps break down any plaque-forming agents, making sugar-free gum an ideal treat after each meal. Sugar-free gum that contains xylitol helps reduce pathogenic bacteria that contributes to dental cavities and even halitosis (bad breath).

  1. Water

The best beverage for maintaining your oral health is water. Fluoridated water is even more beneficial because fluoride helps make your teeth more resistant to acid attacks that cause cavities.

Maintaining good oral health

Your eating habits are also a factor on how you can keep your mouth in good shape. Avoid frequent snacking as much as possible because the more often you eat, the more vulnerable your teeth are to acid attacks. If you do decide to snack, refrain from consuming hard candy or fizzy drinks. Instead, you can replace them with plain yogurt or fruits. If you’re caring for your baby’s teeth, avoid pacifying your infant with a bottle of formulated milk. Pacifying on the bottle soaks your baby’s teeth of milk acids which can contribute to baby bottle tooth decay.

In addition to healthy eating, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing in between meals is a great way to keep cavities at bay. If you can’t brush your mouth after eating, you can rinse your mouth with water to get rid of food particles. Remember, you are what you eat and your oral health will certainly benefit from a clean, healthy diet. These foods will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease so you can enjoy a beautiful smile that’s free of any dental problems.


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