Eating Your Way To Cleaner, Healthier Teeth

The foods you eat can affect the health and condition of your teeth. Many of the nutrients found in fresh fruits, raw vegetables, seeds, and nuts help your body fight plaque-causing bacteria. An added benefit of foods that are crisp, firm, and mildly abrasive is that they naturally clean your teeth as you eat them.

Fresh Fruits

Crunchy fruits and vegetables help scrub stains from teeth. Apples — known as nature's toothbrush — contain malic acid, which increases saliva production. Saliva washes away food particles and neutralizes plaque acids that cause tooth decay.

Crunchier foods are more abrasive, so they get your teeth cleaner. For maximum benefit, bite into the unpeeled, whole fruit instead of cutting it into slices.

A fruit that turns brown when you cut it contains a high concentration of iron, a mineral that helps keep bacteria from forming enamel-damaging plaque by acting as an acid barrier.

Eating pears also increases saliva flow. Saliva removes oral bacteria that feed on sugar and produce acids that can lead to tooth decay. Pears contain boron, a mineral that helps the body in absorbing and retaining calcium that helps build strong teeth.

Raw Vegetables

Besides being crunchy, raw carrots contain vitamin A, a nutrient that aids in building tooth enamel. Like other orange-colored vegetables, carrots contain beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.

Dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard are other good sources of beta carotene. In addition to providing your body with calcium, turnip greens are a source of magnesium. Most high-fiber foods are high in magnesium, which helps your body absorb calcium.

Fresh, raw broccoli is another crunchy vegetable that cleans and polishes your teeth naturally. Broccoli contains iron, which helps protect tooth enamel against the acid bacteria form. It also contains vitamin K, a nutrient that plays a role in controlling how the body uses and stores calcium.

Celery — an abrasive food with a high fiber content — cleans the surface of your teeth. Fiber stimulates salivary flow that neutralizes the acids that can break down tooth enamel.

Along with increasing saliva flow, chewing on celery and other crunchy foods massages your gums, increasing blood flow to the gum tissue.

Seeds and Nuts

Sesame seeds remove bacteria from your teeth by cleaning off plaque. The seeds are also high in calcium, which helps maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Chewing on almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts rubs plaque off the surface of teeth. Almonds and Brazil nuts are food sources rich in the calcium that gives your teeth structural support.

Talk to a professional like Scott A. Wright, DDS for more information.