When it comes to tooth decay, your tooth enamel is your greatest defense. The enamel is the hard, outer surface of the tooth and is the hardest mineral substance in your body. While the enamel is the mouth’s natural defense against decay, your diet is what determines how strong your enamel is.
While there are a variety of treatments to address eroded enamel, the best treatment is preventative in nature. In addition to regular dental cleanings and checkups, avoiding acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine and foods high in starches and sugars is a step in the right direction. In addition to avoiding these foods, there are foods you should incorporate more of into your diet.
While there are many mouth-healthy foods to consider, here are five that can help improve the health of your mouth and increase the strength of your enamel:
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 75% of the US population has access to fluoridated water (water containing fluoride). This is important because fluoride is especially important for improving the strength of your enamel, providing a stronger defense against acids. Additionally, water helps to combat dry mouth, and with greater saliva production your mouth can naturally reduce plaque buildup.
Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are low in sugar and rich in calcium which is an important mineral in building strong, healthy teeth. Additionally, the protein found in dairy is also important for your teeth. However, not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, but there are other foods that offer a strong source of calcium such as canned seafood, soy/rice/almond milk and green vegetables.
The ADA suggests phosphorous-rich foods for stronger teeth and some of the best sources of phosphorus come from lean meat such as poultry, fish and eggs. However, for those who don’t eat meat or fish, there are alternatives such as beans, nuts and dairy products which offer the protein and phosphorus needed to strengthen your teeth.
The vitamins and minerals contained in nuts are great for your teeth. In addition to being a meat-substitute high in phosphorus and protein, many nuts are also high in calcium, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin D. Beyond the nutritional value, nuts also stimulate saliva production which is important for a healthy mouth. And finally, nuts are high in fiber, so eating them can help to clean the teeth.
Foods high in fiber require a lot of chewing. This is good because it creates saliva which is important for a healthy mouth and teeth, and as you chew, the food sort of brushes and scrubs your teeth. This does NOT replace your need to brush, but it does help you maintain your mouth health during the day. Specifically, leafy greens and vegetables are a great source of fiber that require a fair amount of chewing.
If you’re concerned about your tooth enamel or decay, contact us today to set up an appointment.