Good Food for Good Teeth

dental careAt Dr. Miller’s practice, the whole team is committed to preventing issues with your dental health. Now that could seem counterintuitive. After all, if everyone had perfect teeth and practiced prevention then who would need a dentist? That, of course, is far from reality in the world of dental health. Whether it’s lax home hygiene, bad genes, or tooth trauma, it seems there’s always more for Dr. Miller and the team to take care of.

Still, we like to help our patients take care of their teeth on their own as much as possible. Toward that end, your diet can greatly impact your dental health. We all know we probably eat and drink too many sugary things. Of course, you should cut down on those (but everyone needs a good cupcake or a few Red Vines now and then!), but there are also foods that are good for your teeth.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has put together a list of foods that actually help your teeth. This list has seven tooth-friendly foods.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, the darker lettuces, kale, and the like show up on every list of healthy eating. While they are full of great minerals and vitamins for your overall health, leafy greens also are good for your teeth. They’re high in calcium for your enamel. They contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including helping pregnant women avoid gum disease.

Apples

Of course, apples have the time-honored reputation of “keeping the doctor away.” But they can also keep the dentist away (is it something we said?). Fruits of all sorts are sweetened with fructose (a naturally occurring sugar found in fruit and honey), but they’re also high in fiber and water. When you eat an apple your mouth produces saliva, which rinses away bacteria and leftover food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Think of it as a good scrubbing of your teeth and gums.

Celery

Celery needs a new publicist. It has the reputation for being bland and for those strings that run down the stalks. But, like apples, celery works like a natural toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It also has lots of vitamin A and C, which the gums like.

Carrots

Like celery, carrots are also crunchy and full of fiber. Chomping on a few baby carrots at the end of a meal increases your saliva production. Plus carrots are high in fiber and a great source of vitamin A. Beyond your teeth, your eyes will also thank you for eating carrots.

Cheese

Eating cheese doesn’t naturally seem like a match for helping your teeth, unless you’re a native of Wisconsin. But it does. A study in 2013 published in General Dentistry found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. The chewing required to eat cheese also increases saliva production, which, as mentioned above, is a good thing. Cheese also contains lots of calcium and protein, both of which strengthen tooth enamel.

Yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium and protein. The probiotics (good bacteria) in yogurt also benefit your gums because in a classic good vs. evil scenario the good bacteria crowd out the bad bacteria. It’s best to have yogurt without added sugar.

Almonds

Almonds are a great source for calcium and protein and have little sugar. Plus, they’re great at filling you up. Add a quarter cup to lunch and throw some on your salad at dinner.

Eat more of these seven foods and you won’t feel bad about going for the occasional bowl of Frosted Flakes! Beyond eating right, don’t forget your twice-yearly cleanings and exams with Dr. Miller. Call 503-640-9310 to schedule your appointment.

Posted in: Oral Health

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