What to eat (and what not to eat) for healthier teeth

When we think about looking after our teeth, many of us think about brushing, flossing and using mouthwash – all fantastic aids, but the secret to healthy teeth for life might be sitting in your fridge instead. Certain foods can help to prevent tooth decay, keep plaque at bay and even freshen breath. Other foods and drinks however, could be having a harmful effect on teeth.

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What to eat for healthier teeth:

Calcium and phosphorus rich foods

Calcium and phosphorus are minerals that help to protect tooth enamel (the durable white covering) and can even replace lost minerals in teeth. Make sure you are eating plenty of foods rich in both minerals, such as:

  • low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • meat, fish and tofu
  • dark, leafy greens.

Vitamin D

Helping the body to absorb calcium, vitamin D is another essential ingredient for healthy teeth and bones. Without vitamin D, calcium cannot work properly – so be sure to eat the following:

  • fortified milk
  • mushrooms
  • egg yolks
  • fatty fish.

Firm foods with high water content

Crunchy foods with a high water content can help to clean teeth, freshen breath and stimulate the flow of saliva – an important element of good oral health. Try including the following foods:

  • apples
  • carrots
  • pears
  • celery.

As well as eating teeth-healthy foods, you can improve your oral health by avoiding potentially harmful foods.

What to avoid for healthier teeth:

Acidic foods/drinks

Acidic foods and drinks are the number one cause of enamel erosion and tooth decay, so try to avoid extremely acidic substances such as:

  • fruit juice
  • coffee
  • red wine
  • citrus fruits
  • tomatoes.

To lessen their teeth-damaging effects, enjoy these foods as part of a balanced meal and drink acidic liquids using a straw.

Foods/drinks high in sugar

Sticky sweets and sugary drinks encourage plaque and can cause irreparable damage to teeth. Try to limit your intake of the following:

  • chewy sweets
  • lolly pops
  • fizzy drinks.
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Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Content Producer for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
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