As a dentist, it seems like I’m always telling people what they should or should not eat. Because sugar is undoubtedly bad for the teeth, I warn patients not to consume too much of it. That often means asking them to give up their favorite treats, whether that is ice cream, soda, cookies, or candy. While reducing the amount of sugar one consumes is challenging, forming healthy habits can have an immeasurable impact on your dental and overall health. Here are five foods that have great dental health benefits.
Although it contains some sugar (lactose), milk is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Both nutrients have been shown to strengthen tooth enamel as well as jaw bones. Recent evidence also suggests that drinking milk controls acids in the mouth, which are responsible for tooth decay.
It may not be all that flavorful, but celery is great for fighting cavities. The reason? All those annoying strings and strands the veggie breaks into actually act as cleaners that scrape up food particles and bacteria. Celery also contains antioxidants that are good for your gums and dental health. And if you want to bump up the flavor a bit, top it with your favorite dip or spread! Kids especially love Ants on a Log, which is celery topped with peanut butter and raisins.
Although they may be sticky and sweet, raisins can help brighten your smile. In fact, a recent study found that the tasty treat contains chemicals that inhibit the growth of oral bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease.
With only trace amounts of sugar, cheese would be a tooth-friendly food even if it didn’t fight oral acidity. According to numerous studies, eating cheese raises pH levels in the mouth, which reduces acid levels, making it more difficult for plaque to grow.
They may be sweet, but apples are also high in fiber and water. Simply chewing one increases salivary production, which helps rinse away food particles and harmful bacteria. Apples also have a fibrous texture that stimulates the gums, reducing the risk or periodontal disease and improving your dental health.
These five tasty treats make my short list of dentist-approved foods!