We all know that regular cleanings and exams, in addition to a dedicated home care routine, are the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy, especially during orthodontic treatment.
But certain foods have been shown to help support a healthy mouth, too. From antioxidants that may prevent disease to compounds that keep tooth enamel healthy, your diet can have a direct effect on your oral health.
Here are ten foods that help support not only a healthy mouth but a healthy body:
Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and elderberries contain polyphenols, which are compounds found in plants that have antioxidant properties. Studies suggest polyphenols may help prevent infectious and degenerative diseases, too.
Yogurt – Yogurt is not only rich in calcium, which can help strengthen tooth enamel, but its beneficial bacteria may also help fight bad breath. Certain strains of bacteria present in yogurt have been shown to reduce odor-causing compounds like hydrogen sulfide. Just be sure to choose a yogurt that is low in added sugar.
Green Tea – Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called EGCG, which is catechin. Catechins have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body, including in periodontal (gum) tissue.
Mint – Mint leaves like spearmint and peppermint contain anti-bacterial properties to help fight bad breath.
High-Fiber Foods – Peas, beans, lentils, and edamame are just a few examples of high-fiber foods that help neutralize decay-causing bacteria.
Shiitake Mushrooms – Shiitake mushrooms contain a natural sugar called lentinan, shown in some studies to reduce or prevent plaque and help remineralize teeth.
Water – It may seem like a no-brainer, but water is one of the healthiest things you can put into your body. It hydrates oral tissue, washes away food particles, and if you're drinking fluoridated water, it can help keep teeth strong.
Milk and Cheese – Sure, milk and cheese are high in calcium, but they also contain a protein called casein, which can neutralize acids produced by oral bacteria.
Foods High in Natural Calcium – Eating or drinking dairy products isn't the only way to get your daily allowance of calcium. Chia seeds, sardines, dark leafy greens, and tofu are all high in calcium which helps keep your teeth and bones strong and healthy.
Onions – While you might not want to eat onions before a big date, they contain anti-microbial properties which may kill certain bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontal disease.
It's important to remember that there is no magic food to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But a healthy diet, combined with daily brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings, is just what the doctor ordered!