Ever wonder why some people are able to keep their teeth to a ripe old age compared to others? Aside from the fact that brushing, flossing and regular trips to the dentist are all important – what you eat often ends up making all the difference.
When it comes to food that affects teeth, everybody knows that staying away from sugar is important. While that is certainly true, there’s really a lot more to it and in fact some types of food can help to promote better oral hygiene as well as strengthen your teeth so that they are more resistant to erosion in the first place.
1. Foods Rich in Phosphorus and Calcium
The two minerals that play a huge role in the strength of your teeth are phosphorus and calcium – seeing as they are essentially what your enamel (i.e. the protective layer of your teeth) is made up of. In short if you want strong and healthy teeth then foods containing either or both should be your first port of call.
For calcium the most common source is milk, cheese, and yogurt – though it can also be found in some types of seafood and most leafy greens. On the other hand, phosphorus is found in most types of red meat, eggs, and fish. One excellent source of both calcium and phosphorus is tofu – which makes it a clear favorite to strengthen teeth.
2. Foods Rich in Vitamin D
While vitamin D does not directly affect your teeth, it will help your body to absorb calcium better – which makes it important. On top of that vitamin D also will affect your overall health in general, which in turn can play a part and affect your oral health too in terms of how readily it fights off infections.
The beauty of vitamin D is that it is really easy to obtain – just go out in the sun. Essentially when you’re exposed to ultraviolet B from the sun’s rays your body will produce all the vitamin D that it requires. If getting into the sun is a problem for any reason, you can also obtain the vitamin D that you need from fish and eggs (specifically the yolks).
3. Foods with Good Texture and Promote Saliva Production
Some types of foods can help strengthen your teeth by cleaning them and encouraging the production of saliva (which essentially is the mouth’s flushing system). Generally, the foods that fall under this category are firm and crunchy, and also contain lots of water.
The items that tick all these boxes are celery sticks, apples and carrots. All three are excellent options as they require a decent amount of chewing – which will encourage saliva production. Also their rough texture will help to scrub your teeth while you’re chewing, cleaning it in the process.
4. Foods Rich in Probiotics, Antioxidants or Polyphenols
It is worth noting that the studies regarding the effect of all three of these are still contentious and as of yet there isn’t any definitive research one way or another. Still it is worth considering consuming food that contain these elements because of the fact that they largely overlap with other nutrients and minerals too.
It is said the probiotics can help to reduce plaque, and its best source is yogurt. Considering yogurt is a great source of calcium, it certainly can’t hurt. Similarly, for antioxidants that help to fight bacterial infections a great source is apples – which also provides vitamin C alongside being a crunchy food that encourages saliva production.
For polyphenols you should drink black or green tea. It is suggested that polyphenols can help to reduce the bacteria in your mouth, and drinking sugar-free black or green tea is generally healthy in other ways too.
All these types of food will help you to strengthen your teeth and improve your oral health so that you can preserve them for that much longer. If nothing else it should have certainly provided you with some food for thought (pun intended), that you can use to incorporate several of these foods into your diet.
Make no mistake, to ensure the longevity of your teeth will require more than just a healthy diet. However, it is important that you take care of your teeth through proper oral healthcare and also visit a dentist at least once every six months. That being said, consuming foods that strengthen and help your oral well-being will definitely improve your odds of keeping your teeth intact.