Today, rather than looking for healthy food options just for losing weight, try to eat and drink better in order to maintain a good overall health. Most of us want to use food as medicine and many of us suffer from a variety of conditions such as digestive, weight, hormonal, pain and many other complicated conditions. Health professionals and dentists always tell us to eat well for dental health because of its close connection to heart and overall health.

So, what are the best foods that help improve and maintain oral health?

Dairy – Dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurts make teeth stronger. Dairy products help in enamel restoration and make teeth stronger. They also protect from erosion and decay. The phosphorous, Vitamin D and whey protein in dairy helps in making them strong and protecting them in all ways. As yogurt contains good bacteria, it helps in maintaining proper levels of oral pH and in prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria that promotes decay and gum diseases. Milk is equally good for teeth but should be consumed in smaller proportions by those suffering from weight and digestion issues. It is also important to choose cheeses that are organic, less processed and low in cholesterol. Similarly, sweetened yogurts should be avoided.  Mixing fruits, nuts, dry fruit, bananas and honey in plain yogurt is a better idea than buying sugary and artificially flavored yogurts at store.

Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins for dental health and also help maintain other body functions. Veggies and fruits that require extra chewing function like a toothbrush and help cleaning off food particles and plaque. Citrus fruits including lemons and oranges supply Vitamin C, carrots contain beta carotene that assist in Vitamin A production, folic acid and iron is provided by greens such as spinach and kale. Many fruits and veggies supply the vital antioxidants required by the body. Fruits and vegetables provide protection for inflamed gums and protect against periodontal disease.

Nuts – A lot of people consume nuts for adding protein to their diet and increasing good cholesterol (HDL), but are nuts good for teeth and gums? Most nuts are such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts and cashews are abundant in protein content. Nuts supply esstential vitamins and minerals like Calcium, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium, amino acids and Vitamin E that help teeth and gums. However, we should avoid sugar, caramel and/or chocolate-coated nuts as those can offset the benefits of eating nuts and damage teeth.

Teas -Polyphenols and antioxidants help protect against plaque, decay, erosion and gingivitis. Green teas that contain these polyphenols and antioxidants are definitely better than black teas and coffee. It is also advisable to stay away from artificially sweetened teas, coffees and other unhealthy beverages such as soda, artificial juices, fountain drinks and high sugar coffee store drinks.

Meat, Fish & Soy – Arginine is found in meat and soy foods. Arginine is an amino acid that protects teeth from decay and cavities. Eggs, meat, fish and soy are all great protein sources that help maintain healthy teeth and gums. They make bones, muscles and teeth strong while protecting from bacteria related oral conditions. Omega 3 fish oils and Vitamin D are found in wild, fatty fist such as tuna, herring, wild salmon. Omega 3 not only prevents gum disease but also protects against tooth decay and heart disease.

Healthy and well balanced meals, along with a lot of water consumption is the vital in order to achieve better dental health. In addition to knowing the types of bad foods for your teeth and gums, it necessary to follow a good dental hygiene regime such as brushing teeth every day at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and  flossing at least once everyday. Don’t forget to schedule your dental visit if you haven’t done so in the last 6 months !