The Best Foods for a Healthy Mouth
If it’s true you are what you eat, then it's particularly true for your teeth and gums. Although some foods invite tooth decay, others help combat plaque buildup. And don’t forget about vitamins and minerals that are good for your entire body. Some are especially important for healthy teeth.1,2
The Good Guys in Fighting Tooth Decay
Enlist these healthy foods to get rid of cavity-causing plaque:
Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables1: "Foods with fiber stimulate saliva flow, which, next to good home dental care, is your best natural defense against cavities," said Richard H. Price, D.M.D., a consumer spokesman for the American Dental Association. About 20 minutes after you eat something containing sugars or starches, saliva begins to neutralize the acids and enzymes attacking your teeth.1
Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products1: The calcium in cheese and the calcium and phosphates in milk and other dairy products help put back minerals your teeth might have lost due to other foods.2
Sugarless chewing gum: Another great saliva generator that removes food particles from your mouth is sugar-free gum.3
Water: A moist mouth is a healthier mouth. Not only does water promote saliva production, it also washes away acids that can erode tooth enamel. Acid is found in carbonated beverages as well as citrus fruits and foods with tomatoes including pizza, soup, and pasta sauce.4,5
Lean red meat: Everything from burger to steak contains the important mineral iron. A deficiency in this mineral can lead to sores on the inside of your mouth and an inflamed tongue. Some nuts and cereals also contain iron.2
Chicken and fish: If you have bad breath and sores in your mouth, you may not be getting enough niacin (vitamin B3).2
1 “Snack Smart for Healthy Teeth.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidr.nih.gov/health/pubs/snaksmrt/sec4.htm Accessed 2010.
2 “Nutrition.” Academy of General Dentistry. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/?abc Accessed 2010.
3 “Tooth Decay.”Academy of General Dentistry. www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article Accessed 2010.
4 “Tooth Erosion.”Academy of General Dentistry. http://www.agd.org/public/OralHealth/tootherosion Accessed 2010.
5 “How Does What I Eat Affect My Oral Health?”Academy of General Dentistry. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc Accessed 2010.