OK, so your diet has more in common with the game Candyland than with the vegetable chart. Your snacks tend to be mini Milky Ways or a handful of M&Ms, rather than a cup of almonds.
Well, one day your teeth may respond to such snacking with a little S.O.S. in the form of a cavity or two. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The American Dental Association (ADA) wants to help you not totally abuse your teeth. So, they put together this little list of seven foods that your teeth love. Since we like knowledgeable patients at Gentle Dental, we’ll share their advice with you here.
Of course, an apple-a-day keeps the doctor away. Maybe the dentist, too. At Gentle Dental, we won’t take it personally! While fruits such as apples are sweet, they’re also high in fiber and water. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Think of it as a good scrubbing of your teeth and gums.
Everyone has heard carrots are good for your eyes, but they are also good for your teeth. Carrots are crunchy and when you eat a few baby carrots at the end of a meal your saliva production increases. Why is saliva good? Saliva rinses away bacteria and leftover food particles. Plus carrots are high in fiber and a great source of vitamin A.
Yogurt is high in calcium and protein. The probiotics (good bacteria) in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowds out the bad bacteria. In the past yogurt has often been loaded with added sugar to increase its appeal, but companies are finally doing the right thing and lowering the sugar content. Still, look for brands with less sugar.
Who would think that eating cheese would make the teeth you show off when you say “cheese” healthier? A study in 2013 published in General Dentistry found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. The chewing required to eat cheese also increases saliva production, which, as mentioned above, is bueno. Cheese also contains lots of calcium and protein, both of which strengthen tooth enamel.
Leafy greens are on every list for a healthy diet, kind of like George Clooney is on every hunky actor list. While they are full of great minerals and vitamins for your overall health, leafy greens also are good for your teeth. They’re high in calcium for your enamel. They contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including helping pregnant women avoid gum disease.
Celery needs to work on its public relations. It has the rep for being bland and stringy. But, like carrots and apples, it’s kind of like a natural toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It also has lots of vitamin A and C, which is good for your pink friends, the gums.
Almonds are a great source for calcium and protein and have little sugar. They also increase saliva production. Plus, they’re great at filling you up. Add a quarter cup to lunch and throw some on your salad at dinner.
Eat more of this stuff, and you can have the occasional fried Twinkie with a root beer float chaser! Of course, afterwards be sure to schedule your next twice-yearly cleaning with us at Gentle Dental, (732) 549-5660.