Cavities are small holes in your teeth caused by tooth decay. A cavity starts out small but always progresses, meaning it will get worse over time. Early cavities usually won’t have any symptoms, but as your cavity gets larger, you may experience tooth sensitivity, a toothache, or even develop a tooth infection.
The good news is that with the right diet and oral care techniques, most cavities can be prevented! You know that a well-balanced diet low in sugar and high in fresh fruits and vegetables is good for you, but what are some particularly good veggies for teeth? The following vegetables could help lower your risk of developing cavities!
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are high in calcium and can help you reach your daily intake of this mineral for strong teeth. Calcium makes up the majority of your tooth enamel, which is what helps protect your teeth from the acids and bacteria that can cause cavities. Some great dark leafy greens to consider include:
- Collard greens
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
While not technically a leafy green, broccoli is also high in calcium and can help support a healthy smile . Not to mention broccoli is good for you period!
Another essential nutrient for a strong smile is vitamin D. Vitamin D helps support bone and teeth health, and plays other crucial roles in the body, including supporting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and even working with calcium for optimal nutrient absorption!
An excellent vegetable source of vitamin D is mushrooms. A serving of button mushrooms can provide over 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D . You can enjoy mushrooms in virtually any dish, from soups and salads to side dishes and pasta!
Soy and Sauerkraut
While these may sound like odd food choices, consider that natto—a Japanese fermented soybean dish, available at many grocery stores—contains one of the highest amounts of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is essential to bone health, and can even support healthy teeth to reduce your risk of cavities .
Sauerkraut is another good source of vitamin K2. This fermented cabbage dish contains healthy probiotics and is versatile enough to go with many dishes. Try it in lettuce wraps, on burgers and sandwiches, or as a side dish in a veggie bowl or salad!
Different types of squash seeds—including pumpkin and other winter squash—are high in phosphorus, which is another important mineral in helping fortify your pearly whites against cavities .
Not only that, but roasted squash seeds are also high in vitamin K, which can work with other nutrients to strengthen teeth . You can enjoy squash seeds roasted as a snack, or try raw pumpkin seeds in salads and soups!
Did any of these plant-based sources of teeth-friendly nutrients surprise you? Eating healthy goes a long way towards preventing cavities, but so does taking good care of your teeth at home and visiting your dentist. Enjoy some of these veggies to help prevent cavities—and don’t skip your regular dental cleanings!