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Nutrition and Oral Health: 5 Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

Woman with pomegranate

Many individuals don’t realize how important dental health is until they experience issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, or bad breath. Keeping teeth and gums healthy can be tricky, and Dr. Marissa Miller wants to help Shelby residents keep their mouths in tip-top shape.

Here are five foods you can add to your healthy eating diet that can improve your dental health and may even help you avoid costly procedures such as dental implants, fillings, and more.

5 Great Foods to Fight Plaque and Promote Oral Wellness

1. Celery

The evil villain in many dental scenarios is plaque. And foods cause plaque, right? But did you know that some foods can actually help remove plaque from your teeth? Celery, along with carrots, apples, and some other healthy foods, can get some stains and plaque off of your teeth before they cause problems for your oral health.

2. Yogurt

There has been a lot of publicity lately about yogurt’s ability to improve digestion, but those same bacteria are now believed to keep you from having bad breath. Research has also shown that yogurt eaters are less likely to suffer from both tooth loss and periodontal or gum disease. Now, that’s something anyone in Shelby can get excited about!

3. Pomegranate

Preliminary studies show that this fruit may increase antioxidant activity in the mouth and possibly decrease the amount of oral cavity-forming bacteria. Although testing is still in the early stages, Dr. Marissa Miller suggests adding some fresh pomegranate to your diet every once in a while. However, try to avoid juice, which may not be as beneficial because of its sugar content.

4. Cheese

Studies show that cheese can help keep your teeth healthy in a number of ways. Its texture increases the amount of saliva in your mouth, which is one of the main factors in fighting cavities. Additionally, its mineral contents and nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorous and protein, can help neutralize the negative effects of plaque. Plus, it’s a yummy addition to any healthy recipe!

5. Spinach

This and other greens may create a barrier to stains by leaving an invisible film over your teeth. A good idea is to eat a salad with some of these leafy veggies before indulging in tooth-staining beverages such as wine or cranberry juice.

How Different Foods and Nutrients Affect Oral Health

Diet and nutrition have a big impact on oral health, with certain foods and nutrients having vital roles in preserving gum and tooth health. This is how various foods and nutrients impact oral health:

Carbohydrates and Sugars

Dr. Marissa Miller suggests paying close attention to your intake of carbohydrates and sugars for optimal dental health. Foods and drinks high in sugar, such as candy, soda, and pastries, can promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria produce acid as they digest sugar, which in turn leads to the demineralization of tooth enamel and, eventually, cavities.

On the other hand, Dr. Marissa emphasizes the benefits of consuming complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, veggies, and legumes. These foods are broken down more slowly, leading to less acid production and thereby lowering the risk of dental cavities. By making mindful dietary choices, you can significantly improve your oral health.

Proteins

Dr. Marissa Miller recommends incorporating a balanced mix of plant-based and animal proteins into your diet to support optimal oral health. Lean meats, poultry, fish, and eggs are rich in essential amino acids and protein, which are necessary for the repair of tissues, including those in the mouth.

She also encourages including plant-based proteins such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu in your diet. These plant-based options can also provide the necessary proteins and nutrients required for maintaining strong and healthy teeth and gums. Combining both sources of protein can help ensure your oral tissues remain robust and resilient.

Dairy Products

Dr. Marissa Miller advises incorporating foods rich in calcium and phosphorus into your diet to promote strong, healthy teeth. Dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt are excellent sources of both calcium and phosphorus, essential for the remineralization of tooth enamel. Specifically, cheese not only contains these essential nutrients, but it also increases saliva production. This guards your teeth by balancing out acids in the mouth.

Also, Dr. Marissa highlights the benefits of casein, a milk protein that helps fortify enamel and shield teeth from decay. Including these nutritious options in your daily diet can significantly enhance your overall oral health.

Fruits and Vegetables

Dr. Marissa Miller recommends adding fibrous vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods to your diet for comprehensive oral health benefits. Crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery, and broccoli help clean teeth by stimulating saliva production and physically scrubbing the surface of the teeth. She also emphasizes the value of vitamin C, which is found in citrus foods, strawberries, and bell peppers. This vitamin is essential for keeping gums healthy and rebuilding connective tissues in the mouth.

Water and Beverages

Dr. Marissa Miller underscores the importance of hydrating with water, particularly fluoridated water, to support oral health. Drinking water helps wash away food particles, dilute acids produced by bacteria, and supply essential fluoride for enamel strengthening. In addition to water, she recommends incorporating green and black tea into your daily routine.

These teas contain polyphenols, which help reduce bacterial growth in the mouth and prevent cavities. By staying hydrated and choosing beverages that promote oral health, you can maintain a cleaner, healthier mouth while reducing the risk of dental issues.

Nuts and Seeds

Dr. Marissa Miller suggests adding almonds, cashews, and seeds to your diet for a good dose of magnesium, which is great for building strong bones and teeth. Don’t forget about nuts like walnuts, too—they’re packed with natural oils that help keep your gums healthy. It’s a simple and tasty way to support your overall oral health!

Fats

Dr. Marissa Miller is a big fan of omega-3 fatty acids for keeping your mouth in top shape. These healthy fats are found in fish like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds. Their anti-inflammatory properties reduce the risk of periodontal disease, so adding them to your diet is a smart move for healthier gums and teeth.

Probiotics

Probiotics are not just beneficial for your gut; they are also important in maintaining your oral health. Dr. Marissa Miller recommends incorporating probiotic supplements or probiotic-rich foods into your diet to help balance the good and bad bacteria in your mouth. A healthy microbial balance can minimize the risk of gum disease, reduce bad breath, and even protect against cavities by crowding out harmful bacteria.

The importance of probiotics for oral health lies in their ability to foster a natural defense mechanism in your oral ecosystem, promoting overall wellness. By focusing on both gut and oral health, you’re taking a more holistic approach to your well-being.

Note: While these dietary recommendations can significantly support oral health, it’s always best to consult with a reliable dentist like Dr. Marissa Miller for personalized advice and treatment.

Foods and Drinks That Can Impact Dental Health

  • Acidic Foods and Drinks. Over time, foods and drinks, including citrus fruits, vinegar, and sodas, can degrade enamel. Although they may contain beneficial vitamins and minerals, it’s important to consume them in moderation and rinse the mouth with water afterward.
  • Starchy Foods. You should know that eating a lot of starchy food like chips, bread, and pasta is not good for your dental health. They can get stuck between teeth and break down into sugars, providing food for bacteria. Flossing and proper oral hygiene are important to mitigate their effects.
  • Sugary Snacks. Candies, cookies, and pastries are loaded with sugars, which can lead to tooth decay and other dental issues. These sugary treats create an environment in your mouth that promotes the growth of harmful bacteria, ultimately resulting in cavities and gum disease.
  • Sticky Foods. Foods like caramel, dried fruits, and gummy candies can cling to teeth, making them harder to clean off and increasing the risk of cavities. These sticky treats can get lodged in the crevices of your teeth, providing a food source for harmful bacteria that produce acid, which can erode tooth enamel.
  • Carbonated Beverages. Due to their high acid content, sodas and sparkling waters can erode tooth enamel over time. This can lead to increased dentin sensitivity, cavities, and other dental issues. To protect your teeth, it’s best to opt for plain water whenever possible.

Achieve Your Healthiest Smile Today: Schedule Your Appointment With Discovery Dental

Brushing and flossing alone is not enough to maintain proper oral hygiene, as it also includes paying attention to nutrition and oral health. Your diet is a major factor in maintaining the health of your gums and teeth. Improving the strength of teeth can be done by increasing nutrient-rich foods in your diet. It maintains healthy gums, prevents cavities and improves overall health.

At Discovery Dental in Shelby, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve better dental health with personalized oral care and expert advice. Don’t wait for problems to arise—take proactive steps to keep your smile in great shape today. Contact us today for a thorough dental check-up and customized nutritional guidance to maintain a healthy mouth and a radiant smile.

Make an appointment with our trusted dental professionals to see the benefits of a healthy diet and first-rate dental care. Let’s work together toward your brightest, healthiest smile!