You protect your oral health by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once daily and keeping up with dental visits, but what do you eat regularly? The key to lifelong dental health is eating the best foods for your teeth.
Best Foods for Healthy Teeth
Some foods prevent tooth decay, keep plaque accumulation under control and ward off cavities. Certain healthy foods can also freshen your breath. Learn how to incorporate the best foods for teeth into every meal by reviewing the following healthy foods list.
Healthy Foods List
- Dairy Products and Eggs: It should come as no surprise that milk is at the top of the list of best foods for healthy teeth. But did you know that egg yolks are also a good choice for oral health? All dairy products and eggs are excellent dietary sources of calcium. These foods are also rich in vitamin D, which the body needs to properly absorb teeth and bone-strengthening calcium. If you are not a fan of milk, there are many non-dairy food alternatives that offer similar nutrition.
Healthy foods that provide calcium and phosphorus, like yogurt and cheese, can help replace lost minerals and protect tooth enamel. Cheese can be beneficial because it contains the milk protein casein, that can help strengthen tooth enamel.
- Meat, Fish, and Tofu: Lean meats, fatty fish (such as salmon or mackerel), and tofu are full of phosphorus. This mineral is good for dental health because it may protect precious tooth enamel. Bone broth is a very good source phosphorus.
- Dark, Leafy Vegetables: If you don’t eat animal products, you can consume the same minerals mentioned and more by choosing veggies like bok choy, broccoli, kale, collard greens or other deep-colored, leafy plant foods.
- Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables: Your entire body requires a good work out to stay strong, this includes your teeth. Firm, crunchy foods with a high-water content contribute to oral health because they require a good amount of chewing and help stimulate saliva flow. Hard, high fiber options like apples or celery scrub tooth surfaces, freshen breath and brighten enamel.
Worst Foods for Teeth
- Citrus Fruits and Tomatoes: High acid fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes provide great nutrition, but are very damaging to your teeth. Acidic foods and drinks (orange juice, coffee, red wine) are the leading cause of tooth decay and enamel erosion. Keep in mind, if a food or drink tends to cause tooth staining, chances are it is highly acidic.
- Soda: Both sugared and diet soda varieties are linked to tooth decay and enamel erosion. The mixture of acids, carbonation and high-sugar content is a recipe for disaster when it comes to protecting your dental health.
- Candy: Too much sugar exposure is bad for your teeth. This alluring sweetness can wreak havoc in your mouth, hiding in crevices, feeding bacteria and wrecking your healthy smile.
Hard candies such as breath mints, cough drops or lollipops are particularly damaging because they expose teeth to sugar for extended periods.
- Sticky Foods: Dried fruit, granola bars, taffy, and other chewy, sticky foods are very bad for your oral health. Bits and pieces get stuck in grooves, and between teeth allowing a tremendous amount of sugar to linger. Since these sticky foods are so adhesive, even the sugar-free versions can be damaging.