We know that brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and visiting the dentist are all very important factors in a lifetime of great oral health.
What some forget to consider is that it’s not always about the foods and drinks we’re cleaning off our teeth during our hygiene routine – it’s also about what we put into our bodies in the first place.
Yes, I’m talking about your eating and drinking habits! Even if you’re religious about your oral hygiene routine, eating harmful foods can impact your oral health in a big way, especially if your habits continue long term. Don’t worry – we’ve compiled a list for some of the best things for your teeth and gums so you can make sure to stick to a diet that will not only keep your teeth and gums healthy, but will positively impact your health overall!
First Up on the Menu: Lots of Leafy Greens
These are good for you no matter what, but prove to have extra benefits when it comes to optimal gum health. Why? Greens are so rich with an assortment of vitamins and minerals that help with the upkeep of your gums.
Vitamin C is our main focus here. This specific vitamin can reduce inflammation in the gums, which, in turn, helps to combat the onset of gum disease. On a more minor level, it can combat lower levels of irritation along the gum line.
You also need to spend a little more extra time chewing your leafy greens due to their texture. As we know, the more time spent chewing, the more your saliva production increases. Saliva is great for teeth and gum health as it helps to flush out any leftover food that may be remaining after eating, keeping the area clean until you can get to a toothbrush.
Kale and spinach should be your obvious go to’s here when you’re considering leafy greens to eat. These things can be incorporated into a variety of different foods, or can be consumed on their own in salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese – who doesn’t love these things? The good news is, they all benefit your teeth in their own ways.
The reason for this is because all dairy products are high in calcium, which, as we know, is great for bones. Dairy not only helps to strengthen bone, but keeps the gums healthy with the protein found within it. This particular protein is called casein, and it proves to be effective in maintaining oral health through neutralizing the harmful acids found in the mouth, typically produced by bacteria. As we know – the last thing we want in the mouth is bacteria developing, and paving the way to more serious issues.
You can incorporate dairy into your diet in many small, but significant ways. Try a yogurt cup for breakfast in the morning, a glass of milk with one of your meals, or a cheese tray for dinner every once in a while.
This Brings us to Crunchy, But Healthy Foods
Popcorn and potato chips are indeed crunchy, but aren’t always the best for your teeth. However, foods that are crunchy with other health benefits such as apples often work overtime to keep your teeth clean and healthy, by removing other foods that may be trapped in small gaps and crevices within the mouth. So – does one apple a day keep the dentist away, too?
Other crunchy foods that can do this to the same effect are carrots and celery. You can eat all three things whole, chopped, or combined in any of your favourite dishes – so long as they retain their signature crunch!
Crunchy foods also have the added benefit of increased chewing. Much like you have to break down the kale and spinach like we mentioned before, you have to do the same with crunchy foods. This will increase the flow of saliva in the mouth, which will, in turn, keep your mouth fresh between brushings!
Also: Good Old Fashioned Water
We might as well tack oral hygiene benefits on to the already extremely long list of everything great water does for our health.
Water has the same effect as increased saliva production, works to remove any remaining food particles from between the teeth, and helps to clean them and rinse remaining sugars and starches from their surface. Drinking a glass of water with every meal is a great idea for your teeth, gums, and overall health and digestion!
Next Up: Sugar Free Gum!
While not a food, chewing some of this throughout the day has proven to be beneficial to your oral health. You can have some casually throughout the day, or strategically incorporate it as a routine in between meals to help clean the teeth. Not to mention, chewing gum will increase the flow of saliva much like eating does!
We can’t always find a toothbrush or string of floss on our lunch break or when we’re out with friends, but a stick of gum is easy to transport, and can act as a temporary and effective solution to this problem. If you’re going to chew it regularly, just make sure it’s sugar free! The sugar in regular chewing gum may stick to your teeth, and do the opposite of what you’re using it for.
Of course, a healthy diet isn’t enough. Make sure that as you’re eating healthier and better and being more mindful of your oral health, that you’re still brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Combining all these tactics together will help you stay on top of your overall health, and show your teeth and gums some extra love!