Have you ever heard of the Atkins Diet? What about Whole 30? Weight Watchers? I am pretty sure you have heard of at least one of these, if not all three, but have you heard about the Dental Diet? No? That’s ok! We are going to tell you all about it!
The dental diet is….you guessed it, a diet for your teeth! Making sure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible should be at the top of everyone’s priority list, and what you eat plays a huge role in the health of your mouth. I think we all know that sugar is a big no-no for your teeth. Sugar can be found in so many places, you really have to be vigilant about what you are putting in your mouth. Candy, cake, soft drinks and sugar-added fruit drinks top the list of what you should stay away from, but what should you be eating for great teeth and gums?
Dairy and Calcium-Rich Foods
You have probably heard it a thousand times, “Drink your milk for healthy bones and teeth!” This statement is very true! Calcium is definitely good for the teeth and milk does have calcium, but there is difference in the type of dairy that you consume. Full fat milk, flavored yogurt and ice cream have a lot of sugar. While you are still getting calcium from these products, you are defeating the purpose with the extra sugar. Instead, try low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt and hard cheeses. You can also get your daily dose of calcium from almonds, tofu, seafood and leafy greens like kale and spinach.
Crunchy Veggies and Fruit
You know those veggies that you hear someone chewing from across the room? We are talking about carrots, celery, apples, cucumbers and bell peppers, natural foods that contain a lot of fiber and nutrients. These foods, due to their crunchiness, also cause us to produce more saliva while we are chewing. Saliva helps to keep food moving out of the mouth and into the stomach. The less food remaining in the mouth, the less likely you are to get build-up around the gum line. The hardness of the veggies also acts like a toothbrush, scraping the teeth as you chew.
Plenty of Water and Water-Based Foods with Vitamin C
Water is so good for your body. In the mouth, water keeps things working in proper order. If you get dehydrated, your mouth becomes dry and you do not have enough saliva to keep your teeth free of debris. Saliva is really your mouth’s best friend. It protects the mouth and teeth with proteins and minerals that fight tooth decay, and without it, you are defenseless. While water increases saliva, Vitamin C helps to prevent gingivitis and bad breath. You can get water the old-fashioned way by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day and by eating fruits and veggies high in water and Vitamin C like oranges, apples, strawberries, kiwis, pears and watermelon.
Sugar-Free Gum – Chewing gum is another good way to increase saliva and remove food particles from the teeth.
Green Tea – Green tea is known for its antioxidants, but it also helps to decrease inflammation, decreases the growth of bacteria and freshens breath.
Cranberries – Fresh cranberries have naturally occurring plaque-fighting properties called polyphenols. You can also try fresh cherries and green tea, which also contain polyphenols.
Raisins – Raisins are a great source of phytochemicals like oleanolic, which may kill cavity-causing bacteria, and they are also rich in antioxidants. Other foods containing phytochemicals include blueberries, red cabbage, eggplant and raspberries.
Foods Rich In Arginine – Arginine is a type of amino acid found in foods such as spinach, lentils, nuts, eggs, whole grains, meat, seafood and soy. Arginine can alter the pH levels in your mouth, reducing your chance of getting cavities.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps your teeth by helping your body absorb calcium. Calcium strengthens the enamel of the tooth, which prevents decay. Foods high in Vitamin D include milk, tuna, salmon, fatty fish, egg yolks, soybeans, collard greens, kale and spinach.
The key to a healthy mouth and body is making sure you have a balanced diet with natural foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and low-fat dairy. Limit the amount of sugar and carbohydrates and make sure you brush immediately after eating those types of foods. Remember that prevention is the best practice when it comes to oral health care.