Guest Blog: Nutrients and Foods Which Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Sunday 21 October 2018

Most of us dutifully brush our teeth every day and know we should be flossing and visiting our dentist for regular check-ups. We also know that nutrition is essential for our overall health. However, not so many of us think of what foods are specifically good for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Furthermore, the health of our teeth and gums has a huge impact on our bodily health. The high turnover rate of mucosal cells in the mouth means that deficiencies can be noticed here before elsewhere in the body. Lower blood vitamin and mineral levels have been linked to periodontal disease.

Read on to discover a list of some key nutrients and their food sources, which are excellent for supporting your oral health.

1. Foods that contain calcium

As with our bones, calcium is vital to maintain good teeth structure, and it may also aid enamel remineralisation. Cheeses and plain yoghurt are well-known and excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan and other hard cheese contain the highest quantities, with over 300 mg per 30 gram serving. You can also find non-diary alternatives like soy milk and tofu which are fortified with calcium.

The soft bones of oily fish like canned sardines and salmon, or anchovies are also good sources. Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, almonds and white beans contain decent levels of calcium and are excellent to include in your diet.

2. Foods that contain phosphorous

Phosphorus is another essential mineral for teeth structure and maintaining teeth enamel. Meats and seafood provide good amounts of phosphorous, particularly chicken, turkey, pork and organ meats. For the vegetarians, this mineral can be found in soybeans, tempeh, tofu, and lentils, as well as eggs and dairy products.

3. Watery foods

The flow of saliva can be stimulated by eating crunchy vegetables which contain a lot of water. This is excellent for our oral health as our saliva contains enzymes which protect the teeth from acids found in foods. Celery, carrots, and apples are top choices and will also clean the teeth surfaces.

4. Foods that contain vitamin C

Most people know of vitamin C as a powerful and important nutrient. It is needed specifically for your mucosal/connective tissues and good immune function. Additionally, it maintains the integrity of the periodontal ligament and is used in collagen production. Look to regularly include red peppers, oranges, kiwifruit, strawberries, broccoli and dark leafy greens in your diet.

5. Foods that contain vitamin D

For your body to actually absorb the calcium you are consuming, you also need sufficient vitamin D. There is generally only small amounts of vitamin D in foods. Seafood, egg yolks and mushrooms all have vitamin D, though food sources alone aren’t usually enough to meet our body’s needs. Look for vitamin D fortified foods like orange juice, milk, and cereal in your supermarket.

You can ensure you are getting enough vitamin D by heading out into the sun for a while. The lighter your skin, the larger the area of skin exposed to direct sunlight, and the stronger the sun, the more vitamin D your body can make. Vitamin D will be produced in about half the time it takes for skin to burn from exposure, and you should get some sun a couple of times a week. The exact time you’ll need to meet your requirements depends on your skin type and where you live.

6. Foods that contain probiotics

Probiotics are most commonly associated with gut health, but recent evidence is showing they play an important role in oral health too. Probiotics are actual living microbes which have a positive benefit when consumed. The best food sources are yoghurt and fermented foods including sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha.

7. Antioxidant-rich foods

Antioxidants have been linked with fighting inflammation-causing bacteria and periodontal disease, along with maintaining healthy mucosal/connective tissues and general immune function. Regularly eating a wide variety of antioxidant-rich foods like apples, berries, beans, dark leafy greens, pecans, artichokes will help protect your body from free radical damage. A little dark chocolate won’t hurt either.

8. Foods that contain anthocyanins, arginine, and polyphenols

Research continues to identify additional nutrients which play a part in oral health.

Look for purple foods to get your dose of the anthocyanins. These antioxidant pigments are found in such richly coloured foods as blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, cherries, plums, eggplants, purple cabbages, and pomegranates.

Arginine is thought to be protective against cavities and may reduce the formation of plaque. The best sources are protein-rich foods like meat, nuts, and soy.

Polyphenols have been linked to the prevention of gum disease cavities and bad breath by inhibiting bacteria growth. Tea, berries, dark chocolate and red wine all can help in the fight against gum disease.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires more than just brushing. With a little more attention to the foods and nutrients you consume, you can make a positive improvement in your oral health.

Disclaimer: This article is contributed by a Guest Blogger. Ping of Health does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this article. Ping of Health disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.