You might have read this and rolled your eyes. You know what you need to do to keep your teeth healthy. The problem is, many people don’t actually do all of the things they need to eat or have lapses in their dental care! We have created a comprehensive refresher on just what you need to do to keep your pearly whites just that – pearly white, strong and healthy!
Nutrition for Dental Health
The foods that are bad for our teeth are more widely spoken about than foods that are good! You know that drinking a lot of sugary fizzy drinks can cause plaque build-up, but did you know that eating cheese can balance the pH levels of the mouth? Eating healthily and getting a combinations right vitamins, minerals and nutrients from nutritionally rich foods plays an important role in keeping your teeth healthy. Your diet should be characterised by a simple principle: moderation and variety!
How does nutrition affect oral health?
When your body lacks necessary nutrients, it becomes weaker and more difficult for it to fight off infection. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults and can be caused by infections of the mouth. Although poor diet is not directly related to periodontitis (gum disease), it may contribute to the body’s inability to effectively combat the disease, causing it to progress faster. The foods that you eat also provide the nutrients that your teeth need to remain healthy.
Foods to eat for healthy teeth and bones:
Eating nutrient-dense foods like nuts, leafy vegetables, some dairy products, lean meats and whole grains properly nourish the body and, in turn, the teeth! Eating a healthy diet is beneficial in all aspects of the body’s health. For the teeth, pay special attention to food high in calcium (like kale, sardines and soybeans), phosphorous (like pumpkin seeds, salmon and lentils) and fluoride (like crab, prawns and oatmeal!).
Other Vitamins for a healthy mouth and healthy teeth:
|Nutrient||Purpose||Where to get it|
|Zinc||Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health||Pumpkin seeds, garlic, sesame seeds, oysters, spinach, kidney beans|
|Antioxidants||Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health||Goji berries, artichoke, pecans, parsley, berries|
|Folate||Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health, Lack of folate is associated with gum disease.||Legumes (chickpeas, pinto beans, lentils), spinach, avocado, beetroot|
|Vitamin A||Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health||Beef liver, carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, broccoli, eggs|
|Vitamin C||Collagen Maturation, Periodontal Ligament Health, Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health||Strawberries, citrus fruits, papaya, kiwi, capsicum, leafy greens|
|Iron||Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health||All meats, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach), peas|
|Omega-3 Fats||Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health, assists with inflammatory response||Fish (salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil), walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, egg yolks|
|Vitamin D||Immune Function, Connective/ Mucosal Tissue Health, Enamel Remineralisation||The sun (in moderation), Fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), milk, eggs, mushrooms|
Hydration is key!
Your mouth is a naturally wet environment and it functions best that way. Drinking plenty of water ensures proper saliva production, which protects both hard and soft oral tissues and works to re-balance pH levels in the mouth after a meal. Believe it or not, saliva is actually your mouth’s best defence against tooth decay because it contains proteins and minerals that counteract enamel-eating acids. Many local water sources now add small amounts of fluoride to the water supply, which can prevent decay.
It probably all seems pretty simple; eats well and drink water. But with so many delicious unhealthy options so readily available, sometimes proper nutrition is hard to come by or can be inconvenient. Our best advice is to always try to be mindful of your body and your oral health at each meal. Eating sweets are okay every now and then, but everything in moderation!
If you want to find out more about the importance of keeping your mouth healthy, you can download our FREE guide on oral health here.