Nothing can replace regularly brushing and flossing your teeth to keep them plaque, cavity and gum disease free, but you can boost your oral care by eating the right foods too. While we all know that refined sugars and acidic drinks are bad for teeth and gums, what foods should we be eating to keep them in great shape?
The following five foods are the good guys, great when eaten as part of a balanced meal or to replace sugary snacks. Just remember that you still need to brush, floss, rinse and use interdental brushes too.
5 Foods That Can Boost Your Oral Care
- For A Natural Brushing Action: Apples
Crunchy apples are naturally abrasive when you munch them, helping to remove plaque and bacteria from teeth and gums. As they also take a little while to eat they give your whole mouth a good workout, stimulating the production of salvia that helps to neutralise acids and wash bacteria away. They also contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that can lower your risk of developing disease, and plenty of dietary fibre which is great for your overall health. Just remember that they do contain sugars, so have a swig of water to rinse these away after eating.
- Not Just Great For Bones: Milk
We all know that calcium is good for building strong bones and teeth, especially for young children. Milk, and other dairy products like cheese and natural yoghurt, is a great source of calcium and also phosphorus and magnesium that helps your body absorb calcium more effectively. Milk has been discovered to help fight against gum disease, lowering acidity in the mouth and neutralising the acids caused by bacteria.
- Full Of Calcium: Kale And Leafy Greens
Kale has been promoted to super food status in recent years because of amount of calcium, folic acid and other important vitamins, such as Vitamin E, it contains. Lack of folic acid has been linked to gum disease, with people who have a deficiency more susceptible to the bacteria that creates plaque and can result in gingivitis and periodontitis. Vitamin E is also important for fighting disease, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage. If you are on a dairy-free diet eating dark leafy greens like kale is an important way of getting the calcium your body needs.
- A Natural Interdental Brush? Celery
While chewing on a stick of raw celery should never replace the use of interdental brushes like a GumSaver brush in your oral care routine, it’s not that far fetched! Fibrous vegetables like celery require a lot of chewing and those stringy bits are quite effective at getting in between your teeth to help dislodge other food particles and bacteria. As with apples, the chewing action results in salvia being produced that neutralises acid and washes away bacteria. Just make sure you don’t end up with any stringy celery stuck in your teeth!
- …And Rinse: Water
Most dentists don’t recommend regularly using a mouthwash, they can cause staining and if used immediately after brushing wash away the beneficial fluoride contained in your toothpaste. Instead I might recommend using a medicated mouthwash for a short period of time if a patient has gum disease or another dental problem. However, I would recommend that everyone rinses with water after eating! This will help remove food particles from between the teeth, and wash away any sugars, acid and bacteria that are lurking in your mouth. It also keeps us hydrated and promotes the production of salvia – the body’s natural protection against tooth decay and gum disease.
So next time you reach for the biscuit tin for a snack in between meals, how about having a nice crunchy apple or stick of celery instead? Or a glass of milk instead of a fizzy drink, or adding some finely sliced kale to your sandwich at lunch?
These foods are all great for healthy teeth and gums, but remember that regular brushing, flossing etc. is still essential if you want to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.