Ingredients for a Healthy Smile
"The more I brush my teeth, the better my dental hygiene."
That simple? No.
If it was that simple, we would not have the record number of decaying teeth across the western world. But don’t worry, there is an important but little known solution to this problem – a balanced diet.
It’s actually very logical. The main reason you have to clean your teeth is due to the things you put into your mouth. If you improve what you eat, you improve your dental health. In an average lifetime you can eat up to 300kg of chocolate or 10 miles of bread.
Most people think the scary amounts of sugar in sweets and soft-drinks causes tooth decay. But that is where they go wrong. Bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugar and coverts it into harmful acid. Other foods like Kiwis or Orange Juice directly supply your mouth with the acid, making them equally damaging! So, said differently, it is the acid and not the sugar itself that harms the teeth’s surface!
All you have to do is consult the below guide on foods that naturally clean your teeth. Foods that help strengthen your teeth. Foods that are healthy for your teeth.
Always keep in mind there is no need to swearing off all products that may harm your teeth. It’s more about using techniques that limit damage, reducing consumption and maintaining a proper dental hygiene.
High Fiber Fruits and Vegetables e.g. Apples, Carrots, Beets, CucumberThose firm and watery foods have a natural cleaning effect as they scrub away plaque and freshen breath. This is mainly because they require a lot of chewing which generates saliva. Saliva neutralises acid and contains calcium and phosphate needed to strengthen your pearly whites.
Sugar-free gum: Just like with high fibre foods, chewing sugar-fee gums produces saliva, which washes away acid and nurtures teeth with valuable calcium and phosphate.
Water:Water, just like saliva, washes sugars and acid off the teeth. Moreover, it contains a mineral called fluoride, which protects against tooth erosion. If tap water is available it is a better alternative to bottled water, as it contains more fluoride.
Milk and diary products e.g. yoghurt, cheese,Calcium, present in milk and diary products, is essential for healthy teeth, as it protects and repairs the tooth surface. Also the protein Casein and Vitamin D helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Vitamin rich foods eg. Meat, Fish, Tofu, Eggs, Spinach, BeansThe mineral phosphor as well as Vitamin A, C and D serve as a protective shield for teeth.
Nuts e.g. peanuts, wallnuts, cashews and almonds,…Nuts contain valuable vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc), that have a beneficial effect on your teeth. Moreover the shell oil has shown to fight against those bacteria leading to tooth decay.
Strawberries: These berries contain an enzyme (malic acid) that is said to whiten and clean your teeth.
Green and Black Tea:The substance Polyphenol hampers the acid production by bacteria and reduces the risk of gum infections.
Back tea might however stain your teeth, so make sure to brush them especially well after having a cup of tea.
Citrus fruits and other acidic foods or drinks e.g oranges, lemons, grapefruit, kiwi, salad dressingsAlthough those fruits are a rich source of vitamin C and other nutrients, the high degree of acid is responsible for tooth erosion and decay.
Sweets e.g. Candies, ChocolateEvery kid knows – sweets are bad for your teeth. Especially the sticky ones, as they give bacteria plenty of time to feed on the sugar and convert it into harmful acids that attack your teeth. “Sour” varieties are doubly dangerous.Jawbreakers, hard candy, are called that for nothing. They might chip your teeth if you bite down too much.Chocolate is the least harmful variant since you usually chew and wash it down quickly. But still, cleaning your teeth thoroughly afterwards is a must!
Softdrinks and Sodas e.g. Coca Cola, Ice Tea, Lemonade. It is quite obvious that sugary drinks are bad for your teeth and can leave visible stains. Less known though is that also sugar-free variants contain citric and phosphoric acid, which erodes enamel (tooth surface) if consumed in large doses.If you cannot live without soda, make sure to drink it during a meal as food will help neutralise the damaging effect. Using a straw is also advisable since contact with teeth is limited.
Coffee and Wine Tannic acids in coffee and wine wear down enamel (tooth surface) and leave stains.
Carbohydrates e.g. crisps, crackers, white bread. Although carbohydrates are an important component of our diet and a vital source of energy, it is still important to remember that carbohydrates are sugar structures and thus provide a food source for the bacteria in your mouth. Especially simple carbohydrates or rapidly usable sugars (french fries, crisps, white bread) should be avoided.
Dried fruits and Honey: Although really tasty, honey and dried fruits are rich in sugar and easily get stuck between your teeth. The dangerous bacteria causing cavities have plenty of time to feed on it.
And then there is the problem of getting your children to brush their teeth in the first place...
Is there a parent that hasn't experienced bathroom tantrums when it comes to brushing teeth?
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