Foods containing calcium help to strengthen developing teeth and bones. There is some indication that the consumption of cheese is beneficial for actually slowing the dental decay process. Milk also contains factors that protect against dental decay. Also, hard crunchy foods such as raw vegetables (not toffees!) exercise the teeth to help keep them strong and healthy.
A tooth’s worst enemy is acid – either directly contained in the food and drink, or (as mentioned previously), produced by bacteria that thrive on sugar and convert it to acid. The best foods are those that neutralize acids, provide minerals and vitamins to repair tooth enamel and stimulate saliva.
Top 7 foods:
- High fibre fruits and vegetables – high fibre foods work like a detergent in the mouth and they also stimulate saliva flow by requiring longer chewing time. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defence because it neutralizes tooth-damaging acids and contains calcium and phosphates that help rebuild minerals leached away by bacterial acids.
- Water – is the primary component of saliva and is important to both tooth and gum health.
- Dairy products – Cheese helps stimulate saliva, while its calcium helps replace minerals leached from the teeth.
- Xylitol – (a type of sugar extracted from a variety of plants) –works against the specific type of bacteria that causes tooth decay. This is available from health food stores and sugarless gums contain it.
- Green/Black teas – contain compounds called polyphenols that interact with the bacteria that causes plaque.
- Nuts – many nuts contain vitamins and minerals that help your teeth. For example; peanuts (calcium and vitamin D), almonds (high levels of calcium), cashews (stimulates saliva and helps clean teeth).
- Foods that contain vitamins A, C and D and the minerals calcium and phosphorus. These include beef, eggs, fish, potatoes, spinach, fortified cereals, tofu, leafy green vegetables, beans, whole grains and poultry.