Poor oral health is linked to diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and even cancer. Flossing, brushing twice daily, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings are important for oral health.
A nutritious diet with foods high in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and vitamin C is also critical to oral health.
Cheese is a delicious food that is often eaten as an appetizer, dessert or snack. It contains a protein called casein that coats the teeth when it is consumed and prevents tooth enamel erosion, which can lead to cavities, sensitivity and gum disease.
It also stimulates saliva production, which helps wash away bacteria, acids and sugars that can damage the teeth. In fact, studies have shown that just 1/3 ounce of cheese can cause the pH level in the mouth to change, making it less acidic and better for the teeth.
While cheese is a great food to include in your diet, it should be consumed in moderation because it can be high in calories and sodium. Other healthy snack options are leafy vegetables and nuts, which are rich in calcium and phosphorus to help remineralize the teeth.
Meat is the edible flesh of animals and it is made up of muscle cells, connective tissue, and fat. Meat contains protein and other nutrients important for oral health, including phosphorus which strengthens tooth enamel. When meat is chewed, it increases saliva flow which decreases acidity in the mouth and washes away particles that lead to decay.
A recent study found that red meat consumption is associated with a higher risk of bowel cancer, but it was later reported that chance, bias, and confounding were more likely explanations than a true relation between meat eating and the increased risk. The study also indicated that people who eat more meat tend to ignore other healthy habits such as smoking and lower intake of fruits and vegetables, thus complicating any claim of a direct link between the diet and bowel cancer.
Most vegetables are nutrient dense and provide calcium, vitamin A, C and D, and phosphorus. Leafy green vegetables, hard aged cheeses, nuts, nut butters, eggs, beans, fish and meats are some of the best food sources of calcium to support healthy teeth.
It’s important to snack on the right things and limit sugary foods. When it comes to snacks, it’s healthier for your teeth to eat fruits and veggies that are crunchy, like apples, carrots, celery, cucumbers and peppers. This stimulates saliva production and helps to wash away plaque and neutralize acids that can erode teeth.
It’s also a good idea to avoid acidic foods and drinks throughout the day. Instead, eat them during meals, so your body has a chance to produce more saliva and wash the food particles away before they have time to erode your teeth.
Milk is high in calcium and probiotics that protect against cavities, gum disease and bad breath. It’s also rich in vitamin B12, riboflavin and potassium. A glass of whole or low-fat milk can help meet your daily calcium needs.
Sugary foods and day-long sipping of soda or other sugary drinks can lead to a buildup of plaque, which exposes teeth to acid for long periods of time, increasing tooth decay. Drinking water and unsweetened tea instead can promote dental health.
Meat is another important source of nutrients for healthy teeth. Chewing on meat stimulates saliva production, which decreases the acidity of the mouth and washes away food particles that can cause cavities. In addition, lean red meat is rich in phosphorus, which helps to remineralize teeth after being exposed to acids.
Yogurt is one of the most popular fermented foods in the world. It is a great accompanier to a main meal or can be eaten as a snack. It is rich in calcium and protein which helps strengthen teeth. It also increases saliva flow which neutralizes mouth acids and helps prevent tooth decay.
Yoghurt is a dairy product made by inoculating milk with specific types of bacteria (usually Lactobacillus bulgaricus) and letting it sit at a warm temperature to ferment, producing lactic acid (4). This was an ancient practice to preserve milk.
Daily consumption of yogurt may protect against weight gain and cardiovascular disease (5). It also may help prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) (6). It has a low lactose content, so people who are lactose intolerant can often tolerate it well.