Did you know that you can protect and strengthen your teeth, prevent and even reverse tooth decay, consuming foods rich in vitamin A, D, C, K, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron? So, what foods should you eat regularly for healthy teeth and gums?
Can food prevent tooth decay & keep teeth and gums healthy?
Diet is so important for keeping your teeth healthy.
Teeth rebuild themselves every day. But, teeth need minerals to be healthy, as minerals are important for the remineralization process (1).
Food should provide these minerals in adequate amounts. As teeth lose minerals every day, it’s important to replace them. Moreover, the external layer of tooth, called enamel, is particularly vulnerable to the demineralization process (2).
As enamel is the outer layer of a tooth, it’s the part of tooth that it’s exposed to food.
What causes tooth decay?
The No 1 enemy of your teeth is sugar. Sugar in any form is bad for your teeth. It’s the main reason for tooth decay.
Every time we eat a sugar-rich meal or snack, we provide to mouth bacteria food. These bacteria produce acids. Acids are pretty harmful for tooth enamel.
Can tooth decay be reversed naturally?
Certainly, once tooth enamel is damaged, it cannot be reserved.
On the other hand, weakened enamel can be restored naturally. Enamel can repair itself. Mainly, by using minerals from saliva.
How can I rebuild my enamel naturally?
Firstly, start eating foods high in minerals. Minerals can help rebuild healthy teeth naturally.
Although eating highly mineralized-food and avoiding sugar can strengthen your teeth, you should regularly visit your dentist. Professionals can detect early signs of weak teeth, preventing further damage.
Which food is bad for your teeth?
Every sugar type is bad for your teeth. Even sugar from fruits, or lactose from dairy are types of sugar that are bad for tooth enamel. Due to, the fact that all sugars cause acid formation in the mouth. Acids strip away calcium and other minerals.
Therefore, avoid sweets, sodas, juices, and everything else with added sugar in it.
Furthermore, it’s good for your teeth to avoid highly starchy foods, as well. Starches can also multiply the harmful acid-forming bacteria.
Therefore, it’s vital to remove acids from the teeth as soon, as possible. Proper brushing is the best way.
Eating foods rich in calcium can naturally strengthen teeth
Our teeth are made up mostly out of calcium. Calcium is important for keeping teeth healthy and strong.
Consuming foods high in calcium is essential for healthy and strong teeth. Calcium is particularly important for the outer layer of tooth, the enamel.
Eating foods rich in calcium, means that saliva can provide calcium to the teeth. Moreover, calcium intake is good for preventing tooth cavities.
Luckily, there are so many foods rich in calcium. Cow’s milk and dairy aren’t the only options, though. On the contrary, many people should avoid dairy. For instance, cow’s milk is 5% lactose (3). Lactose is still sugar. It can still be bad for your teeth. Furthermore, many manufacturers add extra sugar in milk. The additional sugar can be pretty bad for oral health (4).
Eating a whole food plant-based diet means that you’ll consume adequate amounts of calcium. There are so many plant-based sources of calcium. Leafy greens, beans, nuts, and seeds are good sources.
You can boost calcium intake, consuming certain foods. For instance, moringa powder is particularly high in calcium. Just 2 teaspoons of moringa powder contain more calcium than a glass of cow’s milk.
Vitamin D is vital for healthy teeth
One of the most important vitamins for the human body is vitamin D. Vitamin D is good for teeth health, as well.
Firstly, vitamin D helps the human body to absorb calcium (5). Calcium is important for strengthening teeth.
Furthermore, vitamin D protects you from tooth decay. It helps on bone metabolism. Also, vitamin D has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties (6).
On the contrary, vitamin D deficiency has linked to increased risk of low mineral bone density, osteoporosis and also infectious and chronic inflammatory diseases.
What are the best sources of vitamin D? Certainly, we can’t get enough vitamin D from food. Vitamin D supplements and exposure to sun are the best ways to get enough vitamin D. As most people lack of adequate amounts of vitamin D, taking vitamin D supplements is a good idea. Compare prices here.
Remember… vitamin D is good for oral health.
Consuming foods rich in vitamin C is good for teeth & gums
Vitamin C is important for healthy teeth and gums.
Vitamin C can speed healing after tooth extraction. Additionally, vitamin C can reduce the likelihood of complications after oral surgical procedures, as it promotes dental healing (7).
Moreover, vitamin C can prevent gums from bleeding and fasten wound healing. Furthermore, vitamin C and vitamin D promotes calcium absorption.
So, vitamin C supplementation seems a good idea. Prefer pills if you want to take vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C pills won’t contact your teeth. Avoid chewable vitamin C tablets. They may lead to erosion of dental enamel, due to their high acidity (pH of 2.8) (8).
Furthermore, vitamin C is vital for collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen keeps teeth in the gums. Inadequate amounts of collagen may cause loss of teeth. Moreover, collagen is the major protein found in dentin, the part of the tooth that is beneath enamel. Collagen is about 90% of the organic compounds of dentin (9).
Although vitamin C supplements are pretty safe, the first option should always be food. Keep in mind that the only good source of vitamin C is plant-based foods. Citrus fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables are all good sources of vitamin C. See the whole list here.
Phosphorus-rich foods for dental health
The enamel, the outer layer of the teeth, is made mostly of calcium. However, calcium needs phosphorus for strengthening teeth and bones.
We need only about 700 mg of phosphorus daily. Seeds are the best plant-based sources of phosphorus:
- hemp seeds (1650 mg),
- pumpkin seeds (1233 mg),
- chia seeds (642 mg),
- flaxseeds (642 mg),
- sesame seeds (629 mg), and
- sunflower seeds (629 mg) are all pretty high in phosphorus.
See the whole list of phosphorus-rich foods here.
Eating seeds and nuts is good for dental health for another reason. Chewing seed and nuts can increase salivary flow. Saliva cleans away any remaining sugar from your teeth. Moreover, seeds and nuts are mainly fat and protein. They don’t contain starches or sugars.
Therefore… seeds and nuts are good for your teeth, especially eating them after a meal, or as a health snack.
Vitamin A is good for healthy teeth & gums
Vitamin A is important for the health of your teeth and gums. For instance, teeth enamel contains keratin. Keratin needs vitamin A for its formation process (10).
Furthermore, vitamin A plays an important role in growth promotion, immunity, and wound healing in oral cavity (11).
Vitamin A from plants is called beta-carotene. The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A. See the whole list of plant-based foods high in beta-carotene here.
Eating foods high in vitamin K is good for your teeth & gums
Teeth are constantly renewed. Vitamin K is important for this process. It has a key role in tooth metabolism, as vitamin K activates proteins responsible for calcium and phosphorous deposition in teeth. That’s part of teeth strengthening process.
On the contrary, vitamin K deficiency may cause bleeding gums.
Another food that it’s a good source of vitamin K is microgreens. Microgreens are among the healthiest foods you can eat.
Magnesium-rich foods are good for healthy & strong teeth
Another mineral for healthy teeth and gums is magnesium. Magnesium intake has linked to healthy and strong teeth (13).
Magnesium is present in enamel. Furthermore, magnesium promotes calcium absorption. Scientific data shows that magnesium deficiency may cause calcium deficiency, as well (14).
Additionally, vitamin D can promote magnesium absorption.
However, high calcium intake may inhibit magnesium absorption. Therefore, consuming only foods high in calcium may not be the best option for healthy teeth. Teeth and gums need so many minerals to be strong and healthy.
Foods high in magnesium are whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, avocado, or even dark chocolate.
Zinc is another important mineral for preventing tooth decay
Zinc is a key mineral for the human body. It has countless health benefits. It’s naturally present in saliva and in tooth enamel.
Zinc seems to have many oral health benefits. It is even present into oral health products to control plaque, reduce oral malodour and inhibit dental calculus formation (15).
Iron promotes dental health
Another mineral good for dental health is iron. Iron may protect against dental caries (16).
Moreover, iron deficiency may cause tooth decay, along with other health problems (17).
Therefore, eating foods rich in iron is good for dental health. For best results, eat foods high in vitamin C, as well. Vitamin C promotes iron absorption.
All foods high in fiber are good for healthy teeth and gums
Foods high in dietary fiber are good for your teeth and gums. Foods high in fiber demand a lot of chewing, just to break the fiber down. Chewing generates saliva.
Saliva is so beneficial for your dental health. Among others, saliva rinses your teeth from food remains, neutralizes acids, and transfers minerals, especially calcium and phosphate. Important minerals for the remineralization process of tooth.
Only plants are good sources of dietary fiber. Therefore, eating potatoes, oatmeal, rice, spinach, broccoli, bananas, apples, carrots, or avocados is good for protecting from tooth decay and tooth cavities, as all are high in fiber.
Does collagen help teeth?
Eating foods that boost collagen production seems good for preventing tooth decay.
Furthermore, collagen helps keep teeth firmly placed in the gums. Collagen deficiency may cause tooth loss.
Consuming lots of foods that boost collagen production has so many health benefits. Healthy teeth is one of them. Among others, collagen has potent anti-aging properties, as it can make your skin look young and healthy.
Are omega-3s good for your teeth health?
Omega-3 fatty acids are so important for our overall health. Dental health is no exception.
Omega-3s are particularly beneficial against periodontitis (20).
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease. It is caused by the presence of bacteria at gums. In periodontitis the gum tissue is separated from the tooth. It can lead to bone and tooth loss.
As omega-3 fatty acids are good against other chronic inflammatory diseases, scientists believe that they could help on treating periodontitis, as well. Mainly due to their powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Foods that require a lot of chewing prevent tooth decay
Chewing causes saliva production. Therefore, foods that demand a lot of chewing are good for healthy teeth and gums.
Saliva has cleansing and antibacterial action. Furthermore, saliva transfers calcium and phosphate to teeth. These minerals are vital for the natural remineralization process of the teeth (21).
Therefore, eating crunchy fibrous raw fruits and veggies can prevent tooth decay. Carrots, apples, pears, cucumbers, seeds, and nuts can strengthen your teeth.
Also, the chewing disrupts bacteria-filled plaque and cleanses the teeth and gums.
Are fruits bad for your teeth health?
But, aren’t fruits high in sugars?
According to the American Dental Association, the dental benefits of fruits are so great that they do more good than harm. Fruits are good for healthy teeth and gums, as they are high in fiber and water. So, fruits stimulates saliva production. Saliva will wash out acid-producing bacteria. The bad guys that cause tooth decay (22).
Other tips for keeping your teeth healthy and strong
If you want to prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush your teeth 2 times per day.
- Floss 1 time at least once a day.
- Don’t snack. If you snack, at least don’t eat starchy or sugary food. Seeds and nuts are the best options. They boost saliva production, as they’re mainly fat and protein. Also, they’re rich in precious minerals.
- Chewing sugar-free gum is good for preventing tooth cavities. Gum removes food remains and stimulates saliva production.
- If brushing or chewing a gum isn’t an option, rinse your mouth with water. Water can remove some food remains from your teeth and gums. Stay hydrated. Drinking water promotes saliva production, as well.
- Don’t drink soft drinks. If you do, at least use a straw. Try to avoid contact of beverage with the teeth. Soft drinks are pretty high in sugar. Sugar boosts the multiply of acid-producing bacteria.
- Eat foods that have antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. Dried oregano is an excellent option. You can use it in salads, and in many other recipes.
- Try to use essential oils. Oregano, clove, peppermint, thyme and cinnamon essential oils are promising natural remedies for healthy teeth and gums. Mainly due to their antiseptic properties.
- Above all, visit your dentist regularly. Not only when you’re in pain. Regular cleanings and check-ups are so good for keeping your teeth and gums healthy and strong.