We work out our muscles to develop them. Squats for firm gluts, push ups for toned biceps and sit ups for rock-hard abs. Sometimes, we even take protein supplements to sustain their tautness. So why not our teeth?
Our smile is very important to us and hence we must take extra measures to keep them healthy and strong. Even your teeth need their work out. By this, I don’t mean taking a bite at every hard substance you come across. Teeth workout are more about eating foods with the right natural nutrients.
According to Dr. Cecilia Luong of Tiger Smile Dental, most people see foods as the villain and focus oral hygiene on activities such as brush, flossing, tongue scraping and using mouth wash. She says, “While there is nothing wrong with this practice, eating healthy foods also provide your teeth with the nutrients required to keep them healthy.”
From averting periodontal diseases and cavities to whitening your teeth and freshening your breath, we list the following foods for better oral hygiene.
- Eat water-rich foods that are firm and crunchy
Your teeth work-out regimen is here; the diet is firm, crunchy foods high in water. They include celery, cucumber, apples and carrots. One way to tell is the sound they make when you take a bite. Chewing stimulates the secretion of saliva which is a great natural neutralizer.
Next, the crunchiness makes for a natural abrasion that scrubs the teeth and gum areas, cleaning them as well as removing plaque. Of course, this only applies to the aforementioned fruits (and others) not candy bars and chips.
- Calcium and phosphorus rich foods
Our tooth enamel is made of minerals. It is sensitive to acidic substances such as soda and pickles. If you drink or eat these regularly, try cutting down the quantity. Also, replenish the lost minerals by consuming foods rich in calcium and phosphorus.
Common examples include cashew nuts, legumes, lentils, meat, fish, milk, sunflower seeds, yoghurt and more. Calcium and phosphorus meals are building blocks on which the enamel is formed and by consuming them, you keep your teeth mineral-rich and strong.
- Mouth-healthy foods and drinks, and foods rich in vitamin D
So far, we appear to be focusing fruits and nuts that are rich in minerals. The best foods for a healthy oral cavity include chickens, red meat, cheeses, milk and nuts. For drinks, reduce (if you must drink) your soda intake and other sugar-rich drinks. Fluorinated water is usually a better alternative for health teeth.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient in the formation of strong bones. It functions to help the body absorb calcium more easily. It can be gotten naturally from sunlight, so taking walks during sunrise is great. Other sources of Vitamin D are fish, cod liver oil, and egg yolks.
- Vitamin C rich foods
One of the main reasons old-time pirates (and sailors generally) had bad teeth was their prolonged stay at sea, which deprived them of foods rich in vitamin C. They were always prone to scurvy, a disease commonly associated with vitamin C deficiency.
Vitamin C is important. It strengthens blood vessels and reduces inflammatory gums. By keeping your gums healthy, they hold the teeth firmly and prevent them from dropping of like grain from their cobs. The deficiency also leads to periodontal disease. Examples include tangerines, lemons, strawberries, kiwi and broccoli.
Additional teeth care tips
Contrary to popular opinion, chewing gum is actually good for the teeth, especially after a meal. It helps unstick food that gets trapped in the teeth. Avoid excessive chewing if you have jaw pains.
Other care tips include:
- Brushing twice daily
- Flossing once a day
- Using a mouth rinse daily
You will achieve a better smile once your teeth and gums are well cared for. Ensure you instil the same habits in your kids or younger ones.