Brushing and flossing are only two of the ways you can take care of your oral health at home. During times when you can’t get into the dentist’s office, your dentist and staff are relying on you to perform fastidious home care and make the best choices for your oral health. An often overlooked component of maintaining your smile between dentist visits is choosing the best foods to keep your teeth, tongue and gums looking and feeling their best. These five foods can deliver some added benefits beyond tasting great and being part of a balanced, healthy diet.
Nuts and Seeds
If you’re craving something salty, skip the carb-filled bag of chips and opt instead for a handful of your favorite nuts or seeds. Carbohydrates add sugar to your mouth, letting bacteria grow unchecked. Nuts and seeds are high in protein, and the mechanical action of chewing on their rough surface can help clean the surface of your teeth. Additionally, nuts and seeds contain trace minerals that can contribute to your overall health and lend your teeth some much needed strength.
The unsung hero of dental health, cheese is one of the best foods to chow down on when it comes to helping your smile get a head start. Low in carbohydrates — and therefore sugar — and high in protein, cheese packs a nutritional punch. It also contains calcium, which is vital for strong teeth, and a protein called casein that can help strengthen tooth enamel. The phosphorus found in most cheeses also helps neutralize acid, helping prevent tooth decay.
Crunchy, fresh vegetables aren’t just a great snack on a warm day — they’re also a great way to keep up with your dental health. Vegetables like carrots and celery deliver benefits far beyond those touted for your overall or general health. Most crunchy veggies are high in water content, helping neutralize saliva and slow down enamel erosion. The mechanical act of chewing on them can also help clean teeth — especially with celery, which some have called “nature’s dental floss.” The fibrous filaments in celery can help whisk away leftover food particles from a previous meal. Because crunchy veg like carrots and celery are packed with vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals, they’re a great choice for healthy snacking for your teeth.
Apples and Pears
Many fruits are packed with sugars, making them less than optimal choices for snacking delights when trying to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Fibrous fruits like apples and pears, while still high in natural sugars, confer some other great benefits. First, chewing them helps clean teeth. The chewing action extends to gum stimulation, which in turn increases your natural saliva flow to get those sugars out of your mouth before they can feed the natural bacteria there. Additionally, these fruits are lower in acid than citrus fruits and most berries, making them a solid choice when you need to indulge your sweet tooth.
Garlic and Onions
If you’re looking to maintain fresh breath in the short term, skip the garlic and onions. But if you’d like to reduce the number of disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, garlic and onions are excellent choices. Both root crops contain allicin, an organosulfur compound that has antimicrobial properties. These vegetables can help reduce the number of decay-causing bacteria and fungi, leading to a fresher mouth overall. They can also reduce the numbers of bacteria that lead to gum disease and other issues.
Choosing Foods for Dental Health
While correct food choices aren’t the first line of defense against decay and cavities, making good choices in nutrition for your dental health can keep your teeth looking and feeling great between dental visits. When stocking up at the grocery store, aim to include at least one or two mouth-healthy foods to ensure your smile gets an A+ report card on your next dental visit.
We’re Here For You
We live in uncertain times right now, and it’s not possible for the office of Drs. Krieger and Hur to schedule your visit to our office. We are, however, able to provide guidance on making the right choices for your oral health and we will absolutely be here for you and your family when our office opens back up — and we can’t wait to see your smiling face in our chair when that happens. Feel free to email our staff with any questions or concerns by clicking here