As you know, a healthy lifestyle is equivalent to following a balanced diet rich in all six nutrients namely proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and roughage necessary for our growth and development. It’s not only about being concerned about your physical health but also about consuming what is beneficial for our body and its overall enrichment.
If you look at the bigger picture, there are thousands of people struggling every day in order to maintain a healthy body and accomplish their fitness goals but did you know that food also plays a vital role in sustaining healthy-looking, bright, shiny teeth?
You might come across or scroll through profiles of various nutritionists, fitness trainers, and dietitians and the common answer to their competence would include perpetual oral health and hygiene.
Very few people are aware of the fact that dental hygiene affects overall health and is indispensable when we talk about leading a health-conscious lifestyle. So it is imperative to know what foods to consume and what to avoid.
HEALTHY FOODS FOR HEALTHY TEETH:
We often end up reading over 100 articles and diet charts on our social media about the importance of organic food that promises a healthy lifestyle and here’s a sneak peek of the same.
Given below is a list of foods that will prevent your teeth from staining:
∙ Green-leafy vegetables: According to the American Dental Association (ADA) green leafy vegetables like spinach, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, etc are not only rich in calcium and phosphate but also contain folic acid which keeps our saliva intact and also prevents gum diseases like gingivitis (inflammation of gums). We generally consume foods that have an ample amount of sugar and starch which eventually reacts with bacteria to produce plague and acids that are detrimental to our teeth. Our saliva helps to reduce the effect of these acids and thereby acts as a defense mechanism.
CARROT: Amongst raw vegetables that are rich in protein, calcium, and phosphate, carrots are a storehouse of Vitamin A which maintains strong and healthy enamel due to their anti-bacterial properties.
BROCCOLI: It contains calcium as well as ‘Vitamin C’ which helps to rebuild the enamel and strengthen our gums. The iron content present in it fights against the microbes present in the inner layers of our teeth.
CELERY: Celery is thin, leafy, and crunchy to chew and produces plenty amount of saliva which again helps in neutralizing bacteria. It sustains gum health and massages the muscle and tissues beneath our gums creating a soothing effect for our teeth.
ONION: Onions are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Due to its germ-killing properties, it protects our teeth from decaying, formation of plague, and cavity.
∙ Fibrous fruits: Fibrous fruits like pomegranate, strawberries, banana, raspberries, blackberries, apples, kiwi, avocado, guava, etc consist of ‘Vitamin A and C’ in abundance which helps to restore all minerals and nutrients that are lost due to bacterial infection and enzymes causing acid reflux. These fruits contain natural sugar which triggers the bacteria and neutralizes gum diseases.
STRAWBERRIES: It contains an inherent tooth whitener namely, malic acid, essential for a beautiful, bright smile thus keeping our teeth clean and gums healthy.
APPLES: Apples have anti-bacterial properties due to their natural sugar deposits and abundant iron content. It is said that ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away, similarly consuming an apple daily would contribute to good oral health and white, shiny teeth.
PINEAPPLE: It consists of bromelain, an ingredient used to make medicines and cosmetics typically found in the stem of a pineapple which serves as an inherent stain-remover for our teeth.
∙ Fluoride-based foods: Foods such as powered juices, fluoridated water, powered cereals, poultry products, raw fruits, shrimps, crabs, dehydrated soups, and seafood all contain fluoridated salt which helps our teeth in fighting against plague and dangerous enzymes.
∙ Dairy products: Dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, ghee, cream, whey, yogurt, etc extracted from the milk produced through cattle, sheep, goats, buffaloes, etc are rich in calcium and phosphate. It helps in restoring lost minerals, strengthens the bones of our teeth thereby repairing the enamel.
∙ Green and Black Tea: Both black and green tea contain polyphenols that limit bacterial growth in our teeth as well as prevent bad breath and plague to settle in our mouth.
∙ Water: Fluoridated water dilutes acids in our teeth and neutralizes bacterial growth as it washes away the leftover food particles in our mouth creating an everlasting fresh mouth.
∙ Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms are a source of lentinan which restricts bacterial growth in our mouth preventing tooth decay and gum diseases.
∙ Sugar-free chewing gum: Such chewing gums have added artificial and anti-bacterial sweeteners known as ‘aspartame and sorbitol’ which inhibit acid reflux and are resilient to bacteria and gum infections.
∙ Fatty fish: Fish especially salmon, is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), fibers, iron, iodine, magnesium, potassium and calcium which not only rehabilitates bone health of our teeth but also reduces inflammation in gums.
∙ Ginger: Ginger, due to its herbal and healing properties, not only helps to strengthen teeth, gums, ligaments, bones, and tissues present in our mouth but also improves digestion.
∙ Nuts and Seeds: These include cashews, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, poppy seeds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds and flax seeds that have a low sugar content and are rich in minerals like phosphorus and calcium.
HARMFUL FOODS FOR AN UN-HEALTHY LIFE:
Eating the right kinds of foods will prevent your teeth from decaying and avoid plague or bacteria to settle on it. There are certain foods rich in sugar and starch which on contact with these microbes release an acid that eventually destroys your teeth leading to gum inflammation, cavities, disrupted tooth structure, and erosion of the enamel.
Below are a list of foods you should not consume when indulging in dental care habits.
∙ Sweet foods: These consist of chocolates, candies, cakes, pancakes, lollipops, caramels, ice cream etc which have refined sugar in abundance which is an indirect invitation to cavities and microbes. Chewing hard candies could even break or damage your teeth. If these sweet remains settle inside our teeth, they lead to tooth erosion and disruption of the gums.
∙ Starchy foods: Starchy foods like potatoes, white bread, corn, cereal products high in carbohydrates and fats, white rice, grains, fast food like chips, noodles, pasta, etc break down into sugar and stick to our teeth which if not treated properly could promote bacterial growth.
∙ Popcorn: The kernels in popcorn being crunchy and hard are susceptible to breaking our teeth or tearing away our gums causing it to bleed.
∙ Mouth-drying agents: These certainly include medicines, tobacco, wine, alcohol, coffee, etc. They cause dehydration as the saliva in our mouth reduces on drying. The ‘tannins’ present in coffee, red wine, and white wine lead to discoloration and staining of teeth causing bad breath and due to its acidic nature also permits tooth decay. Using a fluoride-based toothpaste or mouthwash will add to a solution in protecting your teeth from unwanted decaying.
∙ Carbonated Soft-drinks and Soda: Soft drinks and soda contain both phosphoric acid and citric acid that aggravates dental erosion and also has high added sugar content which again is harmful for consumption and wears away the enamel.
∙ Dehydrated fruits: Fruits like raisins (dried grapes), figs, prunes (dried plum), dates, apricots, peaches, dried mango, dried berries, dried apples, etc stick to the teeth, are treated with added sugar and preserved for months due to which our dental health becomes more vulnerable.
∙ Citrus fruits: Fruits like lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, sweet lime, pomelo, yuzu, etc are filled with citric acid which erodes the enamel and reacts with bacteria to cause acid reflux.
∙ Ice: Ice being hard and cold cannot be chewed or consumed wholly as it would cause the teeth to break, enamel to erode, and lead to sensitivity of teeth.
PREVENTION FOR A FLATTERING SMILE.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what foods can boost your immunity and what foods can slow down your growth and development, you should focus on maintaining a balance between the two in order to promote dental health. Our choices of food play an essential role here.
Drinking fluoridated water at regular intervals, brushing twice a day, flossing, and replacing unhealthy food eating habits like snacking in between meals with health-driven ones like eating fibrous fruit can possibly work for you.
Consuming nutrient-laden foods rich in protein, vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphate and a variety of minerals instead of carbonated drinks, fast food, starchy-sticky foods, sugar-rich foods high in calories and cholesterol can help you achieve your desired goals and sustain your oral health.
More accurately, this would limit the bacterial development inside your teeth, prevent the formation of cavities leading to tooth decay, neutralize gum infections keeping your pearly whites clean, strong,white, bright, and shiny every now and then.