During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should focus on eating foods that promote dental health and prevent cavities. These foods are rich in calcium, phosphorous, and other nutrients that strengthen teeth and prevent decay.
Replace typical snack foods with fruits and vegetables and drink kombucha that contains active cultures, which helps boost saliva production and neutralize tooth-damaging acids from bacteria. Add in lean meats, fish, eggs, and leafy greens to provide a healthy foundation for your oral health.
- Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which help keep teeth strong. They also contain a protein called casein, which helps to re-mineralize tooth enamel and protects it from the acids that cause decay.
In addition, consuming dairy products after eating sugary foods and drinks helps to lower the acid levels in the mouth that lead to cavities. Stick to dairy in its natural, additive-free form for the most benefits.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a widely used edible oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. It has gained popularity as a health supplement, and research indicates it has potential for reducing oral bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath.
A popular oral health practice called oil pulling involves putting solid coconut oil (which turns into a liquid in the mouth’s natural warmth) into your mouth and swishing it around for 20 minutes. This has been shown to reduce bacteria that promote tooth decay and gum disease.
Fruits contain calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals that keep teeth and jawbones strong. They also help balance pH levels in the mouth that prevent acid-creating bacteria from growing.
Apples are a natural toothbrush that help clean teeth, and their crisp texture stimulates saliva production that rinses away food particles and neutralizes acids that attack teeth and cause decay. Try to eat whole fruits instead of juice, which can have added sugar.
Avoid sticky foods such as raisins, gummy candies, and chips that cling to teeth and provide a constant fuel source for bacteria that cause cavities.
A healthy diet is important for maintaining good oral health, but it’s not enough to keep cavities and other dental problems away. You must also practice regular brushing, flossing and visit your Gentle Dental office for routine cleanings and exams.
Sticky foods like chewy candy and dehydrated fruits can get wedged between teeth, providing a steady fuel source for cavity-causing bacteria. Canned fruit is another bad choice because it is often loaded with sugar syrups and preservatives.
Leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are full of calcium, vitamin C and other nutrients that support strong teeth and bones. They also help clean the mouth by generating saliva.
A diet high in protein promotes a healthy mouth by stimulating saliva production which decreases acidity and washes away food particles that lead to cavities. Protein also contains essential amino acids, like arginine, that help prevent gum disease and tooth decay by breaking down dental plaque.
Calcium rich foods like low fat milk, cheese, fortified soy drinks and tofu help prevent tooth decay as well as strengthen teeth and bones. Leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds provide calcium too as well as other vital nutrients like phosphorus and magnesium.
Every bite and drink you consume comes into contact with your teeth and impacts the composition of your enamel. Acidic foods and drinks can eat away at tooth enamel and lead to cavities, while other foods promote healthy teeth through remineralization.
Raw celery contains strings that act as natural dental floss, cleaning and wiping away plaque. It also has plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants that protect gum health.
Apples and other hard fibrous fruits stimulate gums, increase saliva flow and reduce cavity-causing bacteria. They also contain lots of vitamins and minerals.
- Whole Grains
While many people are aware that starchy carbohydrates can increase their risk of tooth decay, not everyone knows that whole grains may actually help prevent it. Research shows that when we eat more whole grains, the starches are less likely to stick to teeth and promote plaque formation.
In their natural state, grains like wheat, oats and quinoa have outer layers that contain nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, during the milling process these healthy components are stripped away.
- Shitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms, also known as donko in Japanese and huagu in Chinese, are a dietary powerhouse. They pack bold flavor and boast grand anti-microbial properties that fight tooth decay.
The polysaccharides lentinan and beta-glucans in shiitake mushroom extract inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. They also promote the growth of good bacteria in the mouth.
These mushrooms are also full of copper and b vitamins. They’re a great source of vitamin D, which aids immunity.