How does what you eat affect your oral health? Most people believe that their daily dental routine impacts their teeth and gums the most, but your diet also plays an important role. That’s right, your meals can make all the difference in strengthening or weakening your teeth. In this post, we’ll draw connections between nutrition and your oral health, including foods to eat and some snacks to avoid.
Understanding Tooth Structure and Health
Your teeth comprise a layer of enamel, dentin and the pulp underneath. Nerves are located inside of the pulp and, if exposed, can cause pain. Since enamel is the first layer of defence for your tooth, protecting it is the best way to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Without it, bacteria, acids, and other irritants can eat away the dentin, causing tooth decay.
Nutrients Essential for Strong Teeth
If you suffer from weak teeth, you may have deficiencies in calcium, phosphorus or vitamin D. These nutrients don’t merely support strong enamel; they can help to remineralize it in some cases. This means that even if you have weakened enamel, you may be able to repair some of the damage by getting enough of these nutrients.
Tooth-Friendly Foods for Strong Teeth
If you’re looking for foods that will give you strong teeth, you can’t go wrong with the following:
- Dairy products such as cheeses, Greek yogurt and whole milk.
- Leafy greens, including spinach, kale and romaine lettuce.
- Nuts and legumes rich in phosphorus, such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews or peanuts.
- Fatty fish, such as salmon.
Foods that Promote Saliva Production
Saliva can aid in reducing bacteria in your mouth and help avoid gum disease. To promote adequate saliva production, try to consume these foods:
- Meats such as beef, pork and lamb. They make you chew, releasing more saliva while you eat.
- Green and black teas are rich in antioxidants and stimulate saliva production.
- Sugarless gum because the act of chewing produces more saliva.
- Crunchy snacks such as nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Foods to Limit for Strong Teeth
Sugars and acids can break down enamel and weaken your teeth. Practice moderation when eating sweets, acidic fruits or carbonated beverages. Opt for non-carbonated or artificially sweetened choices as alternatives if you aren’t willing to give up the snacks you enjoy.
Hydration and Its Effect on Dental Health
While you might be tempted to only focus on foods to strengthen your teeth, increasing your water intake can also be helpful. Staying hydrated washes bacteria and harmful substances away from your gums and teeth. This is because water promotes saliva production, preventing a dry mouth.
Snacking Habits and Timing
Maintaining healthy teeth involves mindful snacking and meal timing. Limiting sugary and acidic snacks and try replacing them with nutritious options like fruits and vegetables. Additionally, try to space out meals and snacks to allow your teeth to recover between eating, reducing exposure to harmful bacteria.
Lifestyle Factors and Dental Health
While nutritious foods are important for oral health, there are other factors to consider beyond what you eat. Lifestyle habits, including drinking alcohol and smoking, may weaken your teeth and gums. In some cases, prescription medications can have similar detrimental effects on your oral health. Speak with your dentist if you struggle to keep your oral health in check despite a healthy diet.
Follow Your Dentist’s Recommendations for Stronger Teeth
Making smart choices regarding what you eat can lessen the chances of tooth decay and help prevent gum disease over time. While you’re filling up on nutritious foods, don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. At Yazdani Family Dentistry, we tailor our care to our patients, helping them achieve healthy smiles and recommending foods to strengthen their teeth. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.