You can’t simply eat your way to a healthier smile (unfortunately), but what you put into your body does have an impact on oral health. You may be surprised to learn that some of the best foods for your teeth and gums are also pretty darn tasty! Here are five foods to try if you want a healthier smile.
No surprise here – leafy greens are the image of healthy eating, to the chagrin of sweet tooths everywhere. But they’re popular for a reason. Kale, spinach, cabbage, and other so-called “rabbit foods” are full of calcium, an essential nutrient in building your teeth’s enamel, which prevents sensitive teeth.
If you’re not a salad fan, there are subtler ways of sneaking leafy greens into your diet, like putting them in a smoothie. You could also use them as a pizza topping – which isn’t altogether bad for you, as you’ll see in the next point.
Cheese lovers are often dismayed to find this gooey goodness on the list of foods to avoid. But cheese offers benefits to oral health, and not just because it contains enamel-building calcium. Eating cheese raises the pH in your mouth, which helps prevent the effects of acids that cause tooth decay! So if you’re planning to indulge in something sweet, it’s not altogether a bad idea to top it off with a bite of cheese.
Ice-cream’s healthier cousin offers a welcome protein and calcium boost. Yogurt with active bacteria cultures (marketed as probiotics) adds ‘good’ bacteria to your mouth, which can take the place of the ‘bad’ bacteria that’ll give you cavities. However, be warned: much of the yogurt you’ll find on grocery store shelves is chock-full of sugar, which won’t go your mouth any good. In terms of health benefits, a low-fat, sugar-free yogurt is the snack of choice.
Yes, these tasty little nuts can get stuck between your teeth. However, if you’ve got a craving for chocolate, almonds are a far better alternative for your oral health. They’re low in sugar, high in calcium, and packed with protein. Just remember to floss after enjoying a handful.
Fruits like apples contain natural sugars. While they obviously contain less sugar than cake and candy, the sugar they do contain is no better for your teeth than the others. However, apples contain a lot of water, and chewing the fruit’s fibrous flesh stimulates saliva in your mouth, which helps to wash away any remaining sugars from your teeth. Finishing off your lunch with a few apple slices can actually help keep your teeth clean!