Diet for Healthy Teeth

At this time of year we all like to make a fresh start with some healthy eating, so I thought I would discuss which foods are best to help maintain healthy teeth.

Decay is caused by acids that are formed when the bacteria in plaque come into contact with sugar in food; so any foods high in sugar or naturally acidic should be kept to a minimum. Biscuits, cakes, sweets and also acidic and sweet drinks such as cola and energy drinks are among the worst culprits.

There are however plenty of foods which actually help fight off decay:

Cheese raises the pH in our mouths and lowers the risk of tooth decay. It is thought that the chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.

Yogurt (particularly a plain variety with no added sugar) is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth.

Leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel.

Fruits, such as apples, might be sweet, but they’re also high in fibre and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums.

Carrots, like apples, are crunchy and full of fibre. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities.

Celery acts a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Eating celery with cream cheese makes it tastier and also adds calcium.

Almonds are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar.

While it is very difficult to avoid sugary food altogether, cutting down the amount you eat by substituting some of the above snacks will be beneficial to both your oral and general health.

Dr. Paul Saliba

British Dental Practice,

La Marina