Is this you? Captain Crunch for breakfast with a Pop Tart on the side. A Snickers bar for lunch. Waffles and chicken fried steak for dinner, topped off with a chocolate sundae.
OK, so that’s little overboard, but the sugary cereals, sodas all day, candy bars as snacks, and the like aren’t exactly the best way to stay on speaking terms with your teeth.
We all know that excessive intake of sugar can lead to tooth decay, but there are also things in food that are good for our teeth. No less of an authority that the American Dental Association has compiled a list of the seven foods that your teeth will love munching on.
Some of these foods you may have heard deemed “super foods.” This is because they benefit multiple parts of your body. Carrots are one of those. Their first benefit for your teeth is saliva, though. Carrots are crunchy and when you eat a few baby carrots at the end of a meal your saliva production increases. Why is saliva good? Saliva rinses away bacteria and leftover food particles. Plus carrots are high in fiber and a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, both of which are great for your eyes.
While an apple a day may keep the doctor away, it could also keep you away from the Drs. of Smiles team. At least you’ll hopefully still come by to show us pictures of your new cat! While fruits such as apples are sweet, they’re also high in fiber and water. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Think of it as a good scrubbing of your teeth and gums.
Yogurt is high in calcium and protein, both of which your teeth use. The probiotics (good bacteria) in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowds out the bad bacteria. It’s best to have yogurt without added sugar.
Leafy greens seemingly are on every healthy diet list, kind of like Larry Fitzgerald on every Cardinals All-Time Greats list. While they are full of great minerals and vitamins for your overall health, leafy greens also are good for your teeth. They’re high in calcium for your enamel. They contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including helping pregnant women avoid gum disease.
This one may surprise you; most people wouldn’t associate cheese with tooth health, but it is. A study in 2013 published in General Dentistry found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. The chewing required to eat cheese also increases saliva production, which, as mentioned above, is bueno. Cheese also contains lots of calcium and protein, enamel strengtheners.
Celery is like Rodney Dangerfield; it gets no respect. It has the reputation for being bland and stringy. But, like carrots and apples, it’s kind of like a natural toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It also has lots of vitamin A and C, which is good for your pink friends, the gums.
Almonds are a great source for calcium and protein and have little sugar. Plus, they’re great at filling you up. Add a quarter cup to lunch and throw some on your salad at dinner.
If your diet includes all of these things recommended by the ADA, your teeth will be happy. So will your waistline. Plus, they will make room for the occasional fried Twinkie!