Foods don’t only fuel your body, they can help clean your teeth and keep them healthy between brushings too. What foods do this?
- Water: An often overlooked component! Saliva contains about 95% water. Saliva (commonly called spit) helps wash way leftover food particles that settle on your teeth. Water helps hydrate your body so it can produce saliva. If you use tap water, you also get the benefits of fluoride both across the surface of your teeth and from within your body.
- Yogurt (pick a low-sugar or no-sugar variety) : natural probiotic bacteria in yogurt may help fight oral bacteria that cause plaque buildup and gum inflammation. Dairy foods are also high in calcium, and calcium is a building block for teeth.
- Strawberries: the malic acid in strawberries is a natural astringent that helps remove surface-level tooth stains that result from eating sugars.
- Eggs (especially the yolks): the yolks contain vitamin D which helps your body absorb calcium and phosphate—two minerals that are needed to build and protect tooth enamel.
- Crunchy Vegetables (carrots, celery, cucumbers, broccoli): act like a natural tooth brush to scrap away plaque from your teeth and dislodge trapped food from your teeth. Remember these often lose their crunchiness if cooked, so find ways to eat them raw.
- Apples: their highly fibrous construction makes them great tooth polishers. They also make your mouth produce more saliva, which as we learned above, helps wash away food particles from your teeth.
- Sunflower Seeds: contain folic acid, which reduces gum inflammation and gingivitis.
- Cheese (choose cheese sticks over melted cheeses): as a dairy product, cheese contains calcium, which as we learned above, is a building block for your teeth. Cheese sticks will force you to chew harder, which creates more saliva, which, as we also learned above, will rinse away food particles and bacteria from your teeth.
You can also combine these foods if you prefer. Put strawberries in yogurt or serve apples with a yogurt dip. Some of these foods can be combined with other foods: sunflower seeds can be put on oatmeal, cereal or salads, for example.
Eating these foods won’t solve all your dental problems, but some are a good way to clean teeth if you can’t brush after a meal.
We hope that these food choices will help you choose healthy snacks that are good for your teeth too!
*Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the judgment of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053