How’s your healthy diet going? You might be watching your waistline as you eat, but how often do you consider the effect of your food on your teeth and gums? There’s more to consider than simply avoiding hard toffee and sweets. Here we’ll look at the different foods you can introduce into your diet to ensure you’re giving your teeth the very best nutritional food with our Nutrition Tips for Healthy Teeth.
Prevention is obviously better than cure where teeth are concerned.
Once you’ve acquired a few unfortunate cavities, or your gums have begun to recede, eating a healthy diet that’s nutritious for your teeth is only going to help restore balance in the mouth, and provide ongoing care for those teeth of yours that are still in good health. So, get your teeth fixed if necessary, and then tune up your eating and brushing habits to help ensure no more serious problems in future.
Brushing, flossing, check-ups and… cheese!?
When it comes to thinking about the mouth, going to the dentist regularly, brushing and flossing every day - those are obvious top tips for maintaining excellent dental health and avoiding bad breath. Using a toothpaste with fluoride in is another excellent way to ensure you’re doing the best for your oral health.
But of course, there’s more to having a healthy smile than basic teeth cleaning. Whatever you eat, and drink has a big effect on your teeth too, and there are certain foods and nutrients that are especially important when it comes to maintaining excellent dental health. Getting a wide variety of fresh food is good for all round well-being, and the right balance of nutrients will help your teeth and gums stay in the best condition.
Let’s start with calcium. For strong bones and healthy teeth, an intake of calcium is essential. Milk is a great source, and you can go for low-fat or fat-free if you’re concerned about putting on those extra pounds. There’s also yoghurt and cheese, which are rich in calcium, and if you’re a vegan you could go for soy alternatives or tofu. For lovers of fish, try a can of salmon to up your calcium intake, and almonds are another great source. Not forgetting healthy greens, go for vegetables that are dark and leafy, like spinach.
Delicious, nutritious, and just what your teeth need.
Vitamin C - for teeth as well as immunity
We all know that Vitamin C is a good way to increase immunity. Keeping your gums at their best is important in staving off infection. You can go for vitamin supplements of course, but even better, eat a variety of citrus fruits - oranges, grapefruit - as well as plenty of broccoli, but ensure you don’t snack on citrus fruits during the day, keep them as a sweet treat at the end of a meal, otherwise you will never give your mouth a break from acid attack. Spinach is another excellent way to get your Vitamin C levels up, and tomatoes and peppers will also add to your intake.
Potatoes have vitamin C in them too, so stock up on these during the winter months.
Teeth benefit from phosphorous in the diet. Everyone knows about calcium and vitamin C, but you might be less acquainted with the sources of phosphorous. Here are some examples: eggs, nuts and beans, lean meat and fish, as well as dairy.
Less sugar is obviously best for dental health
With those basics in mind, you can lay the foundations for a balanced teeth-friendly diet. But of course, there are some foods that aren’t so good for the teeth. Sugary snacks are very tempting, but sticky and hard confectionary is not going to do your oral health many favours.
And if you’re a fan of snacks between meals, you need to know that those acid attacks make it much harder for your teeth to fight back.
You should consider snacking on healthy uncooked veg and fresh fruit, maybe with a few almonds for extra crunch. Be careful to avoid too many citrus fruits or raisins though as these will do more harm than good if you’re snacking on them regularly. Although water with fresh lemon or drinking cider vinegar are allegedly good for your waistline, they’re incredibly damaging to your teeth, so if you insist on consuming them, do so at mealtimes only! A small pot of yoghurt helps to increase your calcium and stave off the hunger. And if you really need to indulge, a small amount of chocolate will be less damaging to your teeth than sweets will, as chocolate doesn’t tend to stick to the difficult to clean areas in your mouth as easily as sweets do.
Here's a tip. Reach for your toothbrush half an hour after snacking, and you’ll make it harder for the bacteria to make their home in the cracks and crevices. No toothbrush handy? At least grab a glass of water and wash the food particles away from the surfaces of your teeth. Eating a small amount of cheese after a snack or meal can also help with cleaning and neutralising conditions in your mouth.
It's also worth while reading our blog post "Is An Electric Toothbrush Better Than A Manual Toothbrush?"
Looking after little teeth - good nutrition for children’s dental health
Of course, with children it’s worth being even more careful. They’re learning which foods are healthy, and they’re setting up their healthy eating mentality for life. So, get your kids used to carrot sticks and celery, and encourage them to fill up on raw and fresh cooked vegetables. It probably goes without saying that fresh juice shouldn’t be left on the teeth of little ones as they’re going off to sleep.
Even milk - fresh, or formula - could build up some potential tooth decay. As soon as their milk teeth come through, a baby toothbrush is going to come in handy, but make sure their dietary intake is also conducive to great oral health.
So, there you have ideas for foods that are rich in nutrients that your teeth need to stay fit and healthy, and that growing teeth need to form correctly. Happy teeth-friendly eating!