Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. Nutritious food gives your body the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs, helping you maintain a healthy weight and feel your very best.
But did you know that the foods you eat also affect your oral health? It’s true — healthy foods promote healthier teeth and gums. And eating a nutritious diet lowers your risk of cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
As trained periodontists in Arcadia, California, J. Paul Fuentes, DDS, DABP, and Andrew Peterson, DMD, MS, specialize in gum care. If you’re wondering which foods you should be eating for better oral health, our team at Arcadia Perio is here to help.
The best foods for your oral health
Every food and beverage you consume touches your teeth and gums first. Some foods promote better oral health by cleaning teeth, reducing bacteria buildup, and protecting your teeth and gums. They are:
Fresh fruits contain water, fiber, antioxidants, and sugars. Crisp, crunchy fruits naturally clean your teeth as you eat them. Both fiber and sugar can increase saliva production to further clean teeth, and antioxidants help protect your gums from infection and cell damage.
Just like fruit, vegetables are packed with fiber and other nutrients that help teeth stay clean and strong. Carrots and celery have high water contents to rinse bacteria from teeth. Leafy greens, like spinach and kale, contain calcium to build tooth enamel, along with other essential vitamins and minerals.
Milk, plain yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are high in calcium and phosphates. Both calcium and phosphate are critical for healthy teeth. Eating low-fat dairy products can help replace lost minerals and rebuild enamel over time.
Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and herring are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s offer a lot of benefits for your body, including your teeth and gums. Consuming omega-3s can increase immunity, reduce inflammation, and even lower your risk of gum disease.
Nuts are another healthy addition to your diet. They contain protein and essential minerals, but they're low in carbohydrates so they don’t accelerate tooth decay. A few of the best nuts to eat for better oral health are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and peanuts.
The worst foods for your oral health
Fruits, veggies, dairy, fish, and nuts are just a few of the healthiest foods for your teeth and gums. But knowing which foods hurt your oral health is just as important as knowing the foods that support it.
Foods high in acid, starches, and sugar increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and a host of other oral health issues over time. Some of the worst offenders include carbonated drinks, candy, citrus, and processed foods with added sugars.
Acid erodes tooth enamel. Sugars and starches are two types of carbohydrates, which naturally increase acid levels in saliva and have the same effect as acidic foods. Sugar on its own causes tooth decay, and the longer it sticks to teeth, the higher your risk of cavities.
When it comes to maximizing your oral health, don’t overlook the foods you eat. Find out what goes into a healthy diet and how to enjoy better oral health with a consultation at Arcadia Perio. Call our Arcadia, California, office at 626-662-1084 or book an appointment online now.