We often hear about the foods that are dangerous to our teeth. We’re careful about our sweet consumption and worry about the residual acids on our teeth that may remain; even from some foods that are generally considered healthy foods for the body in general. Given the anxiety we can suffer trying to avoid foods that could be bad for our teeth, it’s something of a relief to consider that there may be foods that, better than just being neutral for oral health, may actually be good for your teeth and overall oral health. When reaching for a snack or composing your next meal, consider including:
Cheese appears to have some benefits for fighting cavities. Eating cheese has been shown to raise oral pH after eating. When paired with the calcium present in cheese, the possibilities for tooth remineralization are increased. Current research indicates that the casein protein in cheese may be responsible for its potential oral health benefits, though more research is needed to firmly establish the link.
2- Milk and Dairy Products
In addition to cheese, milk and yogurt also appear to have some benefits for oral health. Of all the beverages you can choose, milk may be one of the better choices if you cannot limit your beverages to water. Milk has a high pH, making it less likely to contribute to the low pH (acidic) conditions that contribute to a dangerous and unhealthy biofilm. Dairy foods are also a good source of calcium, a vital ingredient for remineralizing teeth. It is worth noting that milk and yogurt can have high amounts of sugar, which can undo any of the good a high pH and calcium can provide.
3- Green or Black Tea
Plain black or green tea, without sweeteners or cream, has been shown in some studies to help counteract some of the damage done by sugary treats if consumed after the sugary foods.
Research from Kenyon College suggests that the tea leaves contain certain properties that help fight cavities by preventing plaque and bacteria overgrowth. It’s still true that tea contains chemicals that can cause yellowing of the tooth enamel, so you may want to balance your consumption of tea with lots of plain water to keep your smile shining and bright.
4- Whole Grains
Whole grains are a nutritional powerhouse. They have vitamins to support gum health and minerals, like iron and magnesium, that support enamel and bone health. They also are high in fiber, which keeps the saliva flowing by encouraging chewing.
5- Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum sweetened with xylitol also stimulates saliva flow, washing harmful bacteria off teeth and preserving a healthy pH in the oral environment. Xylitol also has been shown to help control “bad” bacteria in the oral biofilm by disrupting their food cycle and starving them to death. While you can chew sugar-free gum to benefit your teeth, remember that chewing sugary gum is likely to damage your teeth instead of preserving them. Sweetener matters when choosing a chewing gum.