Many of us are aware that sports drinks and soda are bad for our teeth because they are high in sugar and acids and can wear down teeth' enamel.
But did you know that there are foods (that you are probably already eating) that can help you heal, repair, and prevent tooth decay? If you weren't aware of this fact, keep reading as we share a list of 10 foods that prevent tooth decay. You can start using these foods as medicine to heal your teeth and start living your best life.
1. Crunchy Vegetables and Fruits
Are you not a fan of crunchy vegetables and fruits, like celery, apples, or carrots, because they take forever to masticate and consume? Even if that were the case, crunchy vegetables and fruits are a boon to your teeth' health because they help increase the production of saliva, which is great for preventing tooth decay. This is due to their high fibre content.
In addition, the great thing about these crunchy foods is that they have a high water content which is necessary for the production of saliva. The average Canadian drinks only 3.5 cups of water a day. The less water you have in your system, the less saliva your mouth is producing, and the easier it is for germs and bacteria to thrive, grow and eat away at your enamel.
Finally, crunchy foods are great for your teeth because they have this cleansing quality to them - the more you munch away at those apples, the more you will notice your teeth are shinier, brighter, and whiter. Carry around apples or carrots with you and crunch away at them whenever you get a chance.
If you don't have access to floss or a toothbrush, you can use these foods to temporarily clean your mouth until you get back home to your brushing tools.
You are probably already aware of the high calcium content of dairy products, like yogurt, milk, cheese, and more. They are also high in Vitamin D. Both of these nutrients are necessary for the continued health of your teeth.
Yogurt also contains probiotics that increase healthy bacteria in your gut and mouth, which reduces the influence of the bad bacteria.
If you are vegan (not eating dairy products or meat), then you can still get calcium and Vitamin D from other sources. Some good calcium sources for vegans are green, leafy vegetables (especially broccoli, cabbage, okra), fortified soya milk, rice and oat drinks, and calcium-set tofu. Fortified soy, rice, and oat drinks usually also contain Vitamin D.
Also, start spending more time outdoors outside the peak hours of 10 am to 2 pm, as the sunshine hitting your skin starts the process of creating and activating Vitamin D.
Any food that is a good source of lean protein is great for your teeth as protein helps keep your teeth healthy and strong. Now before you start chowing down on any kind of protein, remember that the key here is lean protein sources. The white meat in chicken is a good example of this.
But be careful of chowing down on too much protein, as a high meat diet (which includes processed meats) has been known to increase the acidity of the body (and your saliva) and this can result in the wearing down of teeth enamel.
Everything in balance!
If you are vegan and can't eat chicken, then nuts are a great alternative source of protein for you. They are also good sources of calcium and phosphorus which are both necessary for healthy tooth enamel. Also, just like crunchy vegetables, crunching down on nuts helps stimulate the production of saliva which protects your teeth' enamel from damage and decay.
Who doesn't love avocados? If you are a fan of this fruit (yes, it's not a vegetable), then pile on the guacamole and avocado smoothies. Avocados are rich in many vitamins and minerals, fibre, and are delicious to boot. In addition, they are also high in potassium which helps prevent mineral loss in teeth and bones.
As too many of us are eating a diet that's way too high in sodium and deficient in potassium, avocados are a great friend to have in preventing tooth decay.
Do you know how to strengthen teeth and get lots of healthful fibre as well? Our magical fruit (the one that helps us toot) is the one to turn to. Beans contain a high amount of fibre in them which reach the gut intact and can act as food for our microbiome (prebiotics).
If you've heard of the mouth-gut axis, you know that a healthy microbiome (both in your gut and in your mouth) is crucial not only for your overall health but also for healthy teeth and gums.
7. Green Tea
One of the great things about sipping on green tea throughout the day is that it fights against harmful bacteria in the mouth that cause teeth decay, cavities, and periodontal disease. And that's not all - green tea is beneficial on many counts in the body, helping with better heart health, a happy gut biome, and more. So keep sipping that tea like your mouth depends on it (because it does).
The same logic with lean protein from chicken applies to eggs. If you are a vegetarian, and still eating eggs, or if you just love starting the day with some scrambled eggs, keep going. That's how to stop tooth decay - add more healthy protein to your diet.
9. Sweet Potatoes
If you only think of sweet potatoes as great for fries, then get over that thinking right now. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, which is necessary for salivary function and balances oral pH to keep the dangerous cavity-causing bacteria at bay.
Finally, we come to another source of lean protein, that is, seafood of all kinds. Not only is it great for you because of the protein factor, but they also contain fluoride in them, which is great for preventing tooth decay (just like the fluoride that's added to your tap water).
Use These Foods to Your Advantage Daily
If you aren't already eating these foods that prevent tooth decay, then what are you waiting for? They are easy to add to your daily diet, they are delicious, AND they will help you give that healthy smile you crave. But remember, these foods are just an add-on to your brushing and flossing routine.
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