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Many of us think of dental care in terms of oral hygiene habits and visits to our dentists in Toronto for check-ups and cleaning. Even at a young age, we are taught that these habits are the key to detecting the most common dental issues like tooth decay early. But did you know that dental care in Toronto is so much more than oral hygiene and visits to the dentist?
Good dental care requires eating all the right foods and getting the nutrients you need to maintain your beautiful, healthy smile. The benefits of a healthy, balanced diet are endless: lower risk of disease, increased resistance, and cheaper dental care. So, what should you be eating for good dental care and overall health?
Food and Dental Care
We already know about the harm that candy, chocolates, and soda can cause, but merely avoiding these is not enough. We need to pay attention to the healthy treats we swap in. Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and quality protein pack all the necessary nutrients and fibres that make teeth strong and healthy.
On top of this, the chewing motion increases saliva production, removing leftover food particles. Discover all the healthy treats that make your smile strong and healthy, and add them to your grocery list:
Top Foods for Strong and Healthy Teeth
Yogurt, cheese, and milk are dietary staples for a good reason. Dairy products are high in calcium, strengthening bones and other compounds that replace lost minerals in teeth. These foods also encourage the body to produce more saliva, which helps protect teeth by cleaning out food particles.
Can’t get your dairy fix due to lactose intolerance? Dairy alternatives like soy and cashew are also rich in calcium that strengthen teeth for long-term dental care.
2. Fruits and vegetables
There’s no other food group that comes more universally recommended than fruits and veggies. They offer all the essential nutrients to maintain good health, making them the necessary building block of every healthy diet that benefits the entire body.
In particular, your teeth benefit from essential nutrients like vitamin B, folic acid, calcium, and fibre that only leafy greens and fruits can offer, which helps with long-term dental care. These healthy foods boost the production of mouth-cleaning saliva and strengthen the enamel of teeth.
For those fighting a sweet tooth — and the risk of cavities and tooth decay without proper dental care — try swapping out candy and chocolate for healthy sweet treats. Fruits like apples will satisfy your sugar cravings while offering lots of vitamins and fibres.
Unlike typical snack food like chocolate and candy, these healthy alternatives boost saliva production to neutralize tooth-damaging acids. Increased saliva cleans out harmful bacteria that use sugar as a fuel to convert into acid, which linger on the surface of teeth and harm them long after you have finished eating.
3. Water, teas, and unsweetened drinks
Staying hydrated is just as important to dental care as eating the right foods. After all, there’s a good chance that you drink more than you eat, which increases the risk of cavities and tooth decay from contact with sugary and acidic beverages. And while we get the appeal of fun cocktails, sweet juices, fizzy sodas, and vintage wines, these only feed the bacteria and damaging acids in the mouth.
The fact is, there’s nothing better than water — regular hydration throughout the day, and especially after consuming sugar. Water not only hydrates but cleanses, which prevents bacteria that lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath from forming. Craving variety? Try unsweetened black and green teas, as these are rich in plaque-fighting components like polyphenols.
4. Nuts and lean proteins
Need to feel the crunch? Swap out the chips for almonds and other nuts, and come meal-time, stack your plate with lean proteins like meat, fish, poultry, and tofu, along with staples like leafy greens, eggs, and beans.
These foods are high in protein, calcium, and phosphorus — essential nutrients and minerals that help with dental care by keeping teeth and jawbones healthy. These also help build and repair worn-out tissues and balance pH levels in the mouth that stop the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
5. Vitamin C-rich foods
A balanced, healthy diet with long-term dental care benefits is rich in vitamin C. Renowned for its protective benefits, vitamin C-rich fruits like strawberries, grapefruit, apples, kiwis, limes, cranberries, and oranges help fight acid-creating bacteria. These are also rich in antioxidants that help maintain the health of your oral cavity.
6. Vitamin D
Dairy staples like milk and cheese and lean proteins are rich in calcium, but you need vitamin D. Not only does this aid in enamel growth, but it also signals to the intestines to absorb the calcium from foods. Without vitamin D, your body won’t absorb calcium and instead cause existing calcium in the bones and teeth to break down and make them brittle.
7. Magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium is another essential nutrient that strengthens the tooth enamel and bones in the jaw. But where do you get it — and is all magnesium-rich food safe to eat? To maximize their dental care benefits, make sure to get your fill from whole grains like rice, corn, barley, wheat, and oats. Conversely, avoid processed grains as these just tend to dissolve into detrimental sugars inside the mouth, increasing your risk for cavities.
8. Foods high in fluoride
No — don’t eat your toothpaste. The best sources of natural sodium fluoride are in the ocean, like fish, shellfish, and other seafood.
Are you dealing with seafood allergies? Get your fill of fluoride from other dietary staples like carrots, beets, canned pork and beans, canned tomato products, and cheese, as these also have some fluoride content.
Fluoride-rich foods help strengthen teeth and bones, resist acid, and prevent tooth decay — the same reasons that this essential mineral is the core ingredient of your toothpaste.