Everyone knows that milk, cheese, and other foods rich in calcium are great for your teeth, and maybe you’ve even heard that foods like apples, carrots, and celery are “nature’s toothbrushes”
and scrub the surface of your teeth to help prevent cavities. But when it comes to eating right, we cannot survive on milk and apples alone, so here are some other, less obvious superfoods that are actually great for the health of your teeth and gums, straight from your Overland Park dentist to you:
Fruits. Apples aren’t the only tooth-healthy superfood from the fruit family. Strawberries, kiwis, pineapples, and oranges all contain boatloads of Vitamin C to help boost your immune system and fight inflammation in your gums.
Nuts. Various nuts contain a wide range of vitamins that help fortify your teeth and gums. Peanuts are high in Vitamin D and calcium, while walnuts contain fiber and several vitamins and minerals that are key to healthy teeth. And pretty much all nuts stimulate salivation, which is great for the health of your teeth and gums overall.
Wild salmon. It doesn’t matter how much milk you’re drinking if your body can’t absorb that calcium, and it turns out that getting enough Vitamin D is an essential part of your body’s process of absorbing and using calcium. Fatty fish like wild salmon is a great source of Vitamin D, and so are mushrooms and liver!
Kale. Another “nature’s toothbrush,” kale is a good source of leafy greens that’s full of enzymes to help with digestion, while also cleaning your teeth of food deposits that can lead to cavities or plaque.
Licorice. Sadly, we’re not talking about the candy licorice that you usually see at the grocery store, which is loaded with sugar, but rather strong, real licorice like the kind you can sometimes find at Italian delis. Researchers at the University of California have found that licorice contains compounds that inhibit the formation of cavities and gingivitis. If you can find it, go for the lighter-colored licorice, as the darker kind can stain your teeth. And remember that licorice is a potent herb, so don’t eat too much of it, or it can be bad for you.
Chocolate. This is everyone’s favorite. It turns out that in spite of what your mom may have told you, eating chocolate can be good for you, and great for your teeth. Dark chocolate contains tannin and antioxidants that can help reduce erosion and tooth decay, while the cocoa butter in chocolate can help prevent plaque formation, making chocolate a cavity inhibitor. The trick is to find dark chocolate that isn’t too heavily sweetened.
Of course, no food—not even chocolate—is a substitute for regular brushing, flossing, and trips to see your Overland Park family dentist, but keeping these tooth-healthy superfoods in mind when choosing your diet will work hand-in-hand with good oral hygiene habits to make sure that you’ve got a happy, healthy smile all year long.
This article brought to you by Watts Family Dental in Overland Park, Kansas. Our friendly office specializes in preventative dental care for the whole family. To make an appointment, please call (913) 338-3384 or click here to fill out our online contact form.