12 Best Foods for Healthier Teeth and Gums

12 Best Foods for Healthier Teeth and Gums
Green apples and carrots on a white background

Most people neglect to take care of their teeth and gums, thinking that this will not affect their overall health. But the truth is that your mouth is exposed to bacteria, viruses and other harmful agents that can make you sick and even lead to chronic illnesses. So to ensure that you are healthy from head to toe, you must be mindful of what you do and introduce to your mouth.

Perhaps you already know that observing good dental practices prevents costly dental treatments. These include brushing twice daily, flossing every day, and visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and professional teeth cleaning.

But you should also be aware that what you ingest will have a huge impact on your dental health. Candies, cookies and other food containing lots of simple sugar, for instance, can cause cavities and tooth decay because the acid they produce will attack your healthy teeth.

Aside from knowing what food to avoid, you must also know what to include in your diet. Here are 12 foods that will surely help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

1. Apples

“An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” This mantra became popular because it is true. Eating apples will increase saliva production, and this helps rinse away food debris and bacteria in your mouth.

An apple is best eaten after a meal because it gives your teeth and gums a great scrubbing, but this does not mean that you should forgo brushing your teeth. You still need to brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.

2. Carrots

Carrots are full of fiber. Like apples, it is highly recommended that you eat a handful of raw carrots after a meal to boost saliva production. These are also excellent sources of Vitamin A, which is not just good for your eyes but also helps maintain your mucous membranes and teeth.

3. Celery

Some people don’t like celery because of its odour and because it is tasteless. But like apples and carrots, celery is watery and helps scrape bacteria and food particles away from your teeth. Moreover, it is rich in vitamins A and C. Make celery tastier by dipping it in cream cheese.

4. Milk

When it comes to your dental health, milk is second to water as the best drink. It is rich in calcium and other essential nutrients. Also, it can lower the level of acid in your mouth, making it highly resistant to tooth decay.

5. Cheese

Like milk, cheese is rich in calcium and helps lower the acid level in your mouth. Aside from that, saliva production will be enhanced if you chew on hard cheeses. Remember, saliva is crucial because it helps to wash off the bacteria in your oral cavities.

6. Yogurt

In addition to the calcium and protein that help make your teeth healthy and strong, yogurt also contains beneficial bacteria. Popularly known as probiotics, these good bacteria help crowd out harmful bacteria in your mouth. Remember, though, to opt for plain yogurt or those without any added sugar.

7. Green leafy vegetables

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are low in calories but full of essential vitamins and minerals. They are high in calcium that helps build the enamel of your teeth. Also, they contain folic acid that helps treat gum disease.

Most importantly, they have vitamin C that reduces inflammation, prevents periodontal disease, and increases red blood cell production.

So make sure to add green leafy vegetables to your diet by creating salads, putting them in sandwiches or soups, and adding them to your main meals as a cooked side dish.

A bunch of green leafy vegetables in a metal colander

8. Kiwis and strawberries

Kiwis and strawberries contain a high amount of vitamin C, which helps boost the health of your gums by preventing the breakdown of collagen. Be aware that without collagen, your gums will become tender and highly susceptible to disease.

In addition, these fruits are known for their astringency. They can actually help reverse tooth discolouration that is primarily caused by drinking wine, tea, and coffee.

9. Oranges

Most citrus foods are highly acidic, which can erode the enamel of your teeth. But oranges are considered the least acidic and most beneficial.

10. Onions

Onions are powerful bacteria-busting food because of their antimicrobial sulfur-containing compounds. But you have to eat them raw – you can add them to your salad or on your sandwich. If you can’t, you can still consume cooked onion rather than no onion at all.

11. Green tea

Green tea became popular because of its weight loss benefits. However, this beverage can also benefit your oral health because of it contains “catechins,” compounds that control bacterial infections and prevent inflammation. In fact, studies have shown that drinking green tea daily can prevent gum disease and tooth loss as you age.

12. Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are known to prevent gingivitis because they contain lentinan. This is a natural sugar that has antibacterial properties, specifically targeting biofilm-making microbes. This further means that they attack only the harmful bacteria in your mouth. You can sauté these as a side dish or perhaps add them to your favorite veggie dish.

 

If you are practising proper oral hygiene and visiting our weekend emergency dentist regularly but still have poor dental health, your diet may be the main culprit. Being mindful of what you eat can go a long way in making your teeth and gums healthy and strong. So make sure to add these 12 foods to your diet now!

Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual's requirements, Mike's focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.