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12 Surprisingly Healthy Foods for the Teeth

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As a child, you were likely reminded by your parents about the importance of eating foods like apples and celery to keep your teeth healthy. Although these foods do offer benefits for the teeth, there are other surprising foods available that strengthen the teeth and boost your smile confidence. A Healthy Smile Dentistry in Florham Park recommends the following top 12 superfoods for your teeth. Keep in mind that none of these foods replace brushing your teeth and flossing daily. Also, visit your dentist regularly for annual checkups.

1. Cheese

Although when you think of healthy teeth, cheese may not be the first food to come to mind, but the dairy item actually combats the damage caused by acids in the mouth. Eating cheese, especially after a meal that includes very acidic foods, will work against the acids eroding the enamel. Furthermore, cheese balances pH levels inside the mouth, which is useful for increasing saliva levels. Saliva naturally rinses out any harmful bacteria that could contribute to cavities.

2. Yogurt

When choosing a breakfast item, plain yogurt is the best choice to keep your teeth healthy. Yogurt is high in calcium and casein, ingredients that are essential for strengthening tooth enamel.

3. Milk

Milk has a neutralizing effect on the mouth when consumed after eating foods high in sugar like sweetened cereal. Drinking cereal milk won’t have the same benefit though since the sugars turn the milk into a syrup-like substance. If you don’t have a glass of milk handy after eating something sweet, drinking a glass of water is also helpful.

4. Green Tea

Since coffee is usually not considered the best beverage choice for the teeth, you can choose green tea as an alternative. Green tea contains polyphenols—a substance linked to having antibacterial properties. Green tea is also not acidic, which promotes the re-mineralization of the teeth over time.

5. Onions

With how bad onions smell, it is often a surprise just how good the vegetable can be for your teeth. Raw onions contain sulphur, a type of compound with the ability to eliminate bacteria inside the mouth. Although your breath may not smell fresh after a feast of onions, you could chew gum to combat the issue.

6. Garlic

Similar to onions, garlic has antibacterial abilities too. Additionally, the compound allicin in garlic helps keep the mouth’s pH levels balanced. Like onions, garlic is also known for leaving behind a pungent smell in the mouth that requires a piece of gum after eating.

7. Chewing Gum

Although the sugar-filled gums that kids usually enjoy are not good for the teeth, there are benefits of chewing sugar-free gum after meals. Chewing gum stimulates saliva production and rinses out any acid residue left behind after meals. As an added bonus, you can instantly freshen your breath. If you had any dental work previously done, consult a dentist first before chewing gum on a regular basis. You may need to avoid certain foods if you have any restorative work.

8. Raisins

In most cases, dried fruit is a type of food to avoid when protecting your teeth. Dried fruit sticks to your teeth and prolongs exposure to both the sugars and acids found in the food. However, raisins are a dried fruit treat that can actually benefit the teeth. Raisins are a good source of phytochemicals that will fight against any bacteria in the mouth. Reduced bacterial levels means less plaque is likely to form. Plaque contributes to dental issues like gum disease.

9. Seeds

Different types of seeds, like sesame, are actually beneficial to your teeth. Seeds are high in calcium, a nutrient that strengthens the teeth and bones. Seeds have also been linked to getting rid of plaque buildup while chewing.

10. Dark Chocolate

A common misconception is you should avoid dessert to keep your teeth strong and healthy. The good news is chocoholics can still enjoy their treats by choosing dark chocolate over milk chocolate sweets. Dark chocolate, made from at least 70 percent cacao, may have the ability to harden tooth enamel. When the enamel is strengthened, then you’re less likely to develop issues like cavities.

11. Strawberries

Since strawberries are categorized as an acidic citrus fruit, many people avoid them to protect their teeth from being damaged. Strawberries contain high levels of malic acid, a compound that whitens the teeth naturally. Remember to floss after enjoying a bowl of strawberries since the seeds can become lodged between the teeth.

12. Crunchy Vegetables

Although hard foods are usually not something you want to consume large amounts of when protecting your teeth, raw vegetables are the exception to the rule. Celery, carrots, and cucumbers sets into motion your mouth’s natural cleaning mechanisms to get rid of plaque that may have built up on the teeth.

Foods to Avoid

While the preceding foods protect your teeth, there are foods to steer clear of to avoid dental issues such as cavities and tooth discoloration. Frequent coffee drinkers often find their teeth start to turn a yellowish brown color. Citrus juices and fruits are also damaging to the teeth since the acids erode the enamel. Both adults and children should avoid eating sticky candies. Sweets like lollipops and caramels coat your teeth in a sugar bath and increase the likelihood of cavities. Never bite into very hard candies either since you could risk breaking a tooth. Certain foods may also cause you to feel pain and discomfort if you have an underlying dental issue. For instance, hot and cold beverages could cause sensitivity. Make an appointment with a dentist to discuss treatment options to provide relief from the discomfort.

Contact the dental team of A Healthy Smile Dentistry in Florham Park for checkups for you and your children. Each dentist on our team is experienced in providing cosmetic and restorative dentistry work for adults and kids. Book your dental appointment today and learn why the Consumers’ Research Council of America named us one of America’s Top Dentists.

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