Cheese is low in sugar and acid and high in calcium, making it a great choice. But another advantage is that cheese contains casein, a protein found in milk that is especially helpful in fortifying the tooth’s surface.
Xylitol is a natural sugar replacement found in many sugar-free gums and mints. It is helpful because it prevents harmful bacteria in plaque from metabolizing sugar, thus generating harmful acids that degrade tooth enamel. In other words, it’s the anti-sugar — doing exactly the opposite of what sucrose can do, which is feed the bacteria that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. (Ask us about Xylitol; we sell many Xylitol products at Lakeshore Dental.)
Most raw, fresh veggies are good for your teeth because their fibrous nature requires chewing, which causes an abundance of saliva. Celery is a particular winner because it breaks down into fibrous strands that naturally clean the teeth.
Your teeth benefit from water. Water helps wash away food debris and keeps your saliva levels high. Saliva is actually your mouth’s best defense against tooth decay because it contains proteins and minerals that counteract enamel–eating acids. Saliva is made up of 95 percent water, so if you want to avoid unnecessary cavities, stay hydrated! Water also displaces sugary drinks like soda and sweet flavored waters, which can damage tooth enamel and promote decay. A huge added bonus is if your tap water is fluoridated. Fluoride remineralizes teeth, reversing damage caused by acids, which strip away the enamel layer.
Fresh fruit is great option because, like veggies, its fibrous nature stimulates saliva production. Pears, in particular, have a larger acid neutralizing effect on tooth surface than other types of fresh fruit, including bananas, apples, mandarins and pineapples.
Yogurt is another healthy provider of casein, a protein that helps fortify your tooth’s surface. Yogurt also contains calcium and phosphates that remineralize the teeth.
Not surprising, your teeth get stronger and healthier when you drink milk because it contains calcium. Calcium helps protect your teeth against periodontal (gum) disease and keeps your jaw bone strong and healthy. Since women are more likely to get periodontal disease if they don’t absorb enough calcium from their daily diet, it’s especially important for them to eat and drink plenty of calcium–rich foods.
Salmon and other fatty fish are one of the few good food sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical for oral health since it allows your body to absorb and use calcium, a nutrient that protects your teeth and gums from disease. The vitamin D found in salmon makes it easier for your teeth and bones to get the full power of calcium from the foods you’re eating.
Because of its high citrus content, you may not expect it, but citrus fruits like oranges actually help keep your gums healthy by strengthening blood vessels and connective tissue, including the tissue that holds your teeth in your jaw. It’s the vitamin C in citrus that is so powerful. Vitamin C also helps reduce inflammation, which may prevent or slow the progression of gingivitis, so make oranges and grapefruits a regular part of your fruit bowl.
Strawberries, like oranges and other citrus fruits, are full of gum–building vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, a key protein that maintains your gums’ strength. A half a cup of fresh strawberries gives you more than 70 percent of the daily value for vitamin C.