Diet and oral health go hand-in-hand. The fact is, however, that dental professionals usually focus on the negative. “Don’t eat sweets! Don’t use artificial sweeteners! Don’t drink colas!” You get the idea. Instead, this article will focus on the positive. Here are five delicious foods and drinks that you can add to your diet to give your teeth and gums a healthy boost.
1. Apples – An apple a day keeps more than just the doctor away. Apples are also good for your teeth. How can this be? After all, apples are mostly sugar, right? The fact is that apples are really good at increasing the amount of saliva produced. Saliva keeps the amount of bacteria in your mouth low. This is really true of most fresh fruits and vegetables, so if apples aren’t your favorite, you can eat more carrots, celery, or other crisp foods.
2. Xylitol Sweetened Gum – Xylitol is a natural sweetener and is superior to sugar and artificial sweeteners when it comes to oral health. Xylitol actually fights the bacteria that many other sweeteners promote.
3. Milk – When you hear milk is good for teeth, your first thought may be that calcium is the most important factor. While calcium is good for your teeth and bones, that’s not why milk makes the list. Milk acts as a base in the body, meaning that it raises the pH level in your mouth. Since bacteria in the mouth thrive on an acidic pH, drinking milk works against sugars and other acidic foods. In fact, one study showed that when milk is imbibed after a bowl of sweet cereal, teeth are helped to resist decay.
4. Unsweetened Tea – Green and black tea both fight bacteria that is commonly formed in the mouth. Unfortunately, adding sugar to the tea negates these benefits, so you may have to switch to unsweet depending on how you presently drink your tea. Tea not only delays that formation of plaque, but it also helps keep gums healthy.
5. Water – Adding more water to your diet can wash bacteria from the mouth, keeping your teeth cleaner between brushings, and raise pH levels, thus restricting plaque formation. Also, tap water often has higher levels of fluoride. Of course, bottled water may have fluoride removed, but you can fix that by the brand of toothpaste you choose. The fact is that fluoride is not the reason you need to add more water to your diet.