One of the only silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic is that more people are putting an intense focus on their personal health and hygiene. According to the nation’s dentists, more and more people are visiting their oral healthcare providers and asking specific questions as to ways they can best protect their teeth and oral health in general. The basic rules still apply, brush twice a day, floss regularly, and using fluoride-based products is always good for promoting enamel health.
Many individuals have also used quarantine as an excuse to expand their cooking ability and dietary knowledge. So what foods should you be looking out for that are not only healthy for you, but your oral health/hygiene as well?
Leafy Green Vegetables: Leafy greens are self explanatory in terms of what they are. Things like romaine lettuce, kale, parsley, etc. all provide your body with prebiotics. Healthy oral bacteria that already live in our mouths feed on these prebiotics and are thus better able to protect our teeth.
Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and all other citrus fruits have a complex relationship with oral hygiene. The acidity of citrus fruits is bad for our enamel/can weaken our teeth, however, as long as you’re eating these products in moderation, they all can actually help benefit your oral health. Oranges and grapefruits, for example, are full of Vitamin C which directly helps strengthen the blood vessels in your mouth. This can reduce gum inflammation while also reducing your risk of gum disease.
Fatty Fish: Fish is one of the more unexpected items on this list, however, fatty and oily fish are rich in Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these things also work to support gum health, and omega-3 specifically works to reduce sensitivity in our gums which can cause bleeding while we brush or floss.
Milk: Milk along with most other dairy products, such as cheese or butter, may not be the best for our bodies health in general in excess, however, dairy products contain Vitamin K2, which is a nutrient that specifically strengthens your teeth.
Green or Black Tea: Both of these types of tea in their plain form contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are important if you’re someone who has/does suffer from plaque, as they work to hold back the bacteria that builds plaque from spreading while also destroying it. Polyphenols will also combat any acidity that’s present within your mouth, and depending on what water you use to make the tea, it also can be a great source of fluoride.
You want to focus on finding foods that are rich in calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium specifically, as all three of these elements are not only building blocks to our teeth, but continuously help them get stronger and healthier.
While all of these products are general enough to implement into our everyday meals, it’s important to remember the foods that can also reverse all the strengthening effects these food products have. Obviously processed foods and sugary candies/beverages are not great for our teeth. Sugar in general erodes the tooth’s surface and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and all sorts of other dental issues.
Continue to practice proper oral hygiene while eating these foods and your next trip to the dentist will surely be a quick one.