The minute you consume something, changes start to occur in your saliva. That’s why certain foods are so bad for you. Once you eat something sugary, it immediately converts into acid by bacteria, enabling plaque buildup and attacking your teeth’s enamel. You already know what foods and drinks are bad for your teeth—candy, soda, processed foods—but what kinds of foods and drinks are actually good for your teeth? You may be surprised how certain foods can contribute to your overall oral health.
Low-sugar dairy products
That’s right, cheese, milk, and unpasteurized yogurt are good for your teeth. This is because these products are rich in calcium and phosphate, the minerals that make up your tooth enamel. When you consume more of these minerals, your saliva can topically remineralize your enamel, protecting you from cavities and decay. This natural process works best in an alkaline salivary environment. Also, cheese stimulates saliva production, which helps rid your mouth of acid and residue that attacks your teeth. Fermented foods contain probiotics which help in digestion.
Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Fiber
Fiber-rich foods actually help clean your mouth and rid it of harmful bacteria that collects around the teeth and leads to decay. The high levels of water in fruits and vegetables also dilute any sort of sugars they contain, neutralizing the acidic effects sugar has in the mouth. They also help activate your salivary glands. Overall, fruits and vegetables rich in fiber help protect your mouth against cavities and gum disease just as much as good hygiene practices. Such fruits and vegetables include:
You should, however, be cautious of some fruits. Oranges and lemons are alkaline-forming systemically, but the citric acid causes topical damage to teeth. These fruits cause acid erosion to enamel and exposed roots if not buffered immediately with water or better, an alkaline mouthwash.
Unsweetened Green and Black Tea
These popular teas can actually help prevent and/or kill harmful oral bacteria because they contain polyphenols. When these harmful bacteria are prevented from growing, the acidity in your mouth decreases, leaving you at less risk of enamel erosion and plaque buildup.
If you absolutely can’t drink tea without some kind of sweetener, consider using xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that doesn’t convert into an acid. Xylitol also prevents harmful bacteria from growing and raises oral pH to be more alkaline.
Water is the answer for all things life. Which means it should come as no surprise that it is good for your teeth and gums. First, water helps wash away acid and enzymes that have gathered around the teeth and gums. If your saliva has become acidic from too much exposure, then water can also help alkalize it. Second, water helps maintain your saliva production.