Most of us have a general idea of which food and drinks aren’t great for keeping our teeth and gums healthy, including candy, sugary drinks and acidic substances like soda and citrus.
The list of foods that promote oral health isn’t as well-known, so we’ve pulled together an assortment of fruits, veggies, fish and more types of food bearing loads of nutrients that can protect our oral health:
- Apples — They do contain some natural sugars, but these fibrous fruits require a lot more chewing than the average food to comfortably digest. This gives your jaw a workout, which in turn stimulates saliva production to wash away bacteria and neutralize any acidity that’s present.
- Cinnamon — This spice has antibiotic properties that have won it a slot in mouthwash ingredient lists, and it’s simple to make your own just by boiling some water and mixing cinnamon powder into it, then letting it cool down before swishing it in your mouth for a few minutes.
- Crunchy vegetables — Carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, jicama and celery benefit your teeth in much the same way apples do, forcing you to spend more time chomping down on nutritious food, absorbing vitamins and minerals that strengthen your teeth and bones while gently scraping away some of the plaque-causing germs on your teeth.
It’s important to remember that crunch alone does not make a dentally healthy choice and hard candies, chips and even ice can do real damage.
- Dairy — Any food that’s high in calcium is naturally going to fortify your teeth, gums and jawbone, and nearly all of these fit the bill as long as they aren’t loaded with sugar. Yogurt and other cultured foods have the bonus of promoting beneficial bacteria that could play a role in fighting cavities.
- Garlic and onion — Both of these are notorious for triggering bad breath, at least in the short term. But they also have antibiotic properties that fight against tooth decay and gum disease.
- Salmon — Oily fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids help your gums resist infection and bounce back from it more quickly.