By: Lexi Walters Wright
You know that brushing and flossing are the two key steps to a beautiful, healthy smile. But what you put in your mouth between hygiene sessions can improve your dental health as well.
Here’s what to choose to chew your way to a stronger mouth — and what to avoid.
5 Foods to Eat
1. Calcium-rich Eats
Promote tooth health by nibbling on foods that contain high levels of calcium, like:
- Plain yogurt
- Calcium-fortified tofu
- Leafy greens
2. Phosphorus-rich Proteins
Help build tooth enamel by incorporating some of these items into your diet:
3. Fruits and Vegetables
They both contain water and fiber and can help clean teeth while you eat. Plus, they’re full of vitamins and minerals!
- Choose a colorful array of veggies and fruits.
- Eat acidic foods (like citrus and tomatoes) as part of a meal (as opposed to by themselves) to diminish acidic effects on tooth enamel.
- Sticky foods — like dried fruit — stay on teeth long after you’re finished eating. Opt for fresh produce when possible.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Try to stick with fluoridated water as it helps wash away particles during and between meals.
5 Foods to Avoid
1. Sweet treats, like cakes and cookies, are full of sugars that can adhere to teeth and invite bacteria to feed off of those sugars. This can lead to tooth decay.
2. Sugary beverages, like soda, juice, and sports drinks keep your teeth coated in sugar flavorings and acid from the carbonation. Water is a smarter choice for your teeth — consider drinking it alongside sugary beverages.
3. Ice is fine in water, but shouldn’t be chewed; it can chip tooth enamel.
4. Coffee and tea can stain teeth and might contain lots of extra sugar, depending on how they are prepared. Plus, they can be dehydrating — a major contributor to bad breath.
5. Chewing gum can help increase saliva production (a good thing for your breath and teeth), but many types contain lots of cavity-causing sugar. Choose sugarless gum instead.
We consulted the American Dental Association for most of this information. These are guidelines for promoting dental health; always consult your dentist before changing your dental care routine.