Here at Swan Orthodontics, we talk a lot about how important it is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, especially when undergoing orthodontic treatment. Brushing and flossing daily is one of the best ways to keep your teeth clean and your whole mouth healthy, so it may surprise you to learn that these methods are only one part of the equation when it comes to optimal oral health. The phrase “you are what you eat” applies to your smile as much as your body!
While most of us have heard that acidic food and drink can chip away at tooth enamel, too much sugar can lead to decay, and starchy foods can linger in your mouth a lot longer than you would like, there are a number of foods that actually promote a healthier mouth. If you are already flossing and brushing regularly, adding the right kinds of food into your diet can further strengthen your teeth and help keep cavities at bay. To learn more about how you can eat your way to the healthiest smile, keep reading below! We have put together a list of the best foods for keeping your teeth in tip-top shape and improving your overall oral health.
An apple a day does not just keep the doctor away – it can keep you out of the dentist’s and orthodontist’s chair, too. Apples have a high water content, and eating them stimulates the production of saliva, helping rid your mouth of bacteria and stray food particles. The fiber found in apples can also stimulate your gums. It also acts as a mild astringent for your teeth, brightening them gently and naturally. Do not peel any of your apples, though, because many of the best oral benefits are found in the skin.
Like apples, crunchy carrots are full of fiber. Eating them encourages the production of saliva, your mouth’s natural cleanser. Pathogenic bacteria feeds on any sugar and food debris left behind in your mouth after eating, and saliva helps to wash away all of these things, reducing the acids that eat at tooth enamel. Speaking of enamel, the vitamin A found in carrots helps build it, further protecting your teeth from damage.
Celery sometimes gets a bad rap for being bland, and not everybody loves those pesky strings that get stuck in between your teeth, but this watery vegetable is actually a great source of vitamins A and C. These antioxidants give your gums a healthy boost, and the fiber found in the stalks can act like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bad bacteria off your teeth.
Your bones are not the only thing in your body that love calcium. This mineral plays an important role in helping teeth maintain their structure, and it also contributes to the remineralization process in the teeth. A lack of calcium can lead to tooth decay, so including it as a regular part of your daily diet is an easy way to add some extra protection.
Not only is cheese delicious, but eating it can raise the pH in your mouth and lower the risk for tooth decay, plus the calcium and protein content strengthen the tooth enamel. Plain yogurt with no added sugar is another great choice for healthy teeth. Also high in calcium and protein, yogurt has an added boost of beneficial bacteria from probiotics that can help crowd out the bad bacteria that causes cavities.
Leafy greens find their way onto many healthy foods list, which is no surprise since they are full of vitamins and minerals and low in calories. Dark greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard also promote oral health. Their high calcium content builds your teeth’s enamel, and they contain folic acid, a B vitamin that has numerous health benefits. The antioxidants and vitamins found in these power-packed veggies help combat cavities while also serving as a source of calcium to keep teeth strong.
Almonds, cashews, walnuts – when it comes to foods that contribute to a healthy mouth, you can go nuts! Nuts are loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals that benefit your teeth, including omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen teeth and support healthy gum tissue. Almonds, in particular, are full of good stuff, including calcium, fiber, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. Calcium has been proven to keep the teeth strong and healthy, and for those suffering from inflammation in the mouth, vitamin E can help relieve it. Nuts are also naturally low in sugar, so they are great for snacking. Eating whole nuts can sometimes cause cracked or chipped teeth, so we encourage patients to eat them chopped or sliced to keep their teeth safe and still reap the benefits nuts have to offer.
Keep your smile healthy from the inside out with Swan Orthodontics
As you can see, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with a moderate amount of good-quality dairy included, can go a long way towards giving our bodies the nutrients we need to stay healthy, protecting our teeth and gums in the process. As an orthodontic patient, we also recommend you visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Between the foods you eat, a good oral hygiene routine, and regular dental appointments, you will be well on your way to creating a smile that shines from the inside out!
At Swan Orthodontics, we can take that one step further, by giving you a smile that is also beautifully aligned and fully functional. We are passionate about providing a fun, safe, and rewarding orthodontic experience, and Dr. Swan is dedicated to compassionate care for patients of all ages. If you are in the Caledonia or surrounding area and want to learn more about what orthodontics has to offer you or your family, get in touch with us today to set up a complimerntary consultation! Your very best smile is waiting for you!