Making healthy food choices to keep your teeth and gums healthy is more complicated than you may think. It’s not just about avoiding sugar. The right foods will give your body the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy mouth and help keep your teeth clean.
Plain water is the best refreshment choice for healthy teeth. It will hydrate your body as well as, or better than, any other refreshments, which is extremely important for your teeth. You see, when your body is well-hydrated, it produces plenty of healthy saliva which keeps your teeth clean naturally.
Fluoridated water has the added benefit of extra protection against cavities. Contact your municipal councillors if you are at all uncertain about whether or not your tap water is fluoridated. Only around 37% of homes in Canada get tap water that has fluoride added. If you are not included in that 37%, you may want to talk to your dentist about getting fluoride treatments. This is especially important for children.
Avoid or limit soft drinks and sports drinks. Sugar-free soft and sports drinks and those that contain sugar are bad for your teeth. The sugar will rot them and the acid contained in the sugar-free varieties will eat away at the enamel. Drink them through a straw, when you do have soft drinks, so that most of the beverage will not get on your teeth. Sweetened tea and coffee are just as bad for your teeth as sugary soft drinks.
Health Canada suggests that you “Eat a healthy diet according to Canada’s Food Guide.” to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If You Can, Choose Dairy
Include plenty of dairy products in your daily diet. Cheese isn’t just for cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese. Tuck a container of your favorite cheese cubes in your purse or briefcase to snack on instead of chips or candy. Yogurt is also a great snack, as long as you have a refrigerator or cooler to keep it in. Cold milk can be just as refreshing as a cold soft drink and is much better for your teeth. These foods don’t destroy your teeth with sugar or acid and the calcium they contain helps keep your teeth strong.
String cheese is a fun, handy, mouth-healthy snack for you and your kids.
Lean Proteins for the Win
Choose lean sources of protein to keep your body, and teeth, healthy and strong. Lean meats like turkey, chicken, fish and low-fat beef are ideal protein sources, as well as milk and eggs. They contain phosphorus which is an essential mineral for healthy teeth. Fatty fish like salmon, which is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, can help prevent gum disease.
Have a cup of nuts for a snack, instead of candy or chips, to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Fruits and Veggies Pack an Extra Punch
Vegetables and fruits, even those that contain natural sugars, are very good for your teeth. They contain lots of fiber and water and make you salivate. The fiber, water and saliva work together to clean your teeth. Have a piece of fruit for dessert to give your mouth a good cleaning after you eat a meal. Many fruits and veggies also contain vitamin C for healthy gums and vitamin A which helps keep your tooth enamel healthy.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you, “Munch on mouth-healthy snacks like cheeses, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.”
Be sure to include plenty of nuts and legumes in your diet. Almonds and other types of nuts, dry beans of any type and peas are good, lean sources of protein and fiber. Nuts, which contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, can also help prevent gum disease.