Everyone knows the basic principles of good dental hygiene. You brush twice a day, floss once and make regular 6 monthly trips to see your dentist. But did you know that in-between these times there are other, equally as important steps you can take to improve your dental health? By eating certain food and cutting down on other food, it is possible to guarantee healthier teeth, and cut down on the plaque that causes dental bacteria. So which food should we be avoiding and which are good for us?
Any food that is high in sugar or acid will ‘feed’ the plaque present in your mouth. When these substances come into contact with plaque, they produce toxins that attack the teeth, gums and bone which support the teeth. Contrary to popular belief however, you should not brush your teeth immediately after you have eaten a highly acidic or sugary meal.
This is because the enamel of teeth have already been weakened by this attack and brushing straight afterwards will only serve to ‘de-mineralise’ teeth further. It is best to leave brushing for about 20 to 40 minutes later. Food you should be eating are those which stimulate saliva production, as this has a naturally neutralising effect on the acid. Saliva contains bicarbonate and also calcium and phosphates which ‘re-mineralise’ the enamel. So here are our top five foods to promote healthier teeth:
It may surprise you but cheese is a good food to eat for healthy teeth. This is because it is low in sugar and acid and high in calcium. It also contains casein, which is a protein found in milk that helps to strenthen the enamel of the teeth. In fact, there is a specific paste called MI Paste, that dentists prescribe to patients who are prone to getting cavities, which is made from casein.
Celery is a great vegetable food for losing weight as it contains negative calories, in that, it takes more energy to process it than it actually releases. But it is also very good for teeth as it is extremely fibrous and acts as a natural dental floss, whilst also producing copious amounts of salvia.
Apples & Pears
You know the old adage, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, well it also keeps the dentist at bay as well. This is due to the fibrous nature of the fruit naturally cleaning your teeth and stimulating saliva production as well. Pears are a very good way of keeping teeth healthy as they have a larger acid neutralizing effect on tooth surface than other types of fresh fruit.
Eating yoghurt is great for your overall health anyway but where teeth are concerned, it is very much like cheese, in that it provides a healthy dose of casein. The best thing about yoghurt is that it also contains calcium and phosphates that aid in re-mineralising the teeth.
It is thought that sesame seeds can help to reduce plaque and also are good in re-mineralising tooth enamel. In Ayurvedic medicine, there is a practise called ‘oil pulling’ where people gargle with sesame oil and this has been shown in tests to reduce plaque, bacteria and halt the spread of plaque-induced gingivitis.