Written By Jeremy Hall / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
It's safe to say that we all have a fairly good idea of what foods we shouldn't eat in order to keep our teeth and gums in good shape. But other than the obvious calcium-rich foods, what else can we eat that is good for our teeth? Here well take a look at some of the best foods for maintaining that perfect smile.
Of course milk tops our list as a fantastic source of calcium, but it is actually the high levels of vitamin D present in fresh milk that makes it a great food for keeping your gums and teeth healthy. Vitamin D enables our body to absorb calcium in a more efficient manner and this means that the body shouldn't have to take essential calcium it needs from your teeth, leaving them strong and healthy.
This is another one of the well-known, calcium-rich foods that we all know is good for your teeth. But unlike milk, cheese is actually a great food for encouraging saliva production, which is essential in the fight against the nasty bacteria that lurks in your mouth.
Healthy gums require an adequate supply of vitamin C and sweet potatoes are an excellent source. People often assume that fruits such as oranges and lemons are good for your teeth as they contain such high quantities of vitamin C, but unfortunately the citric acid present in these fruits is quite often a cause of the breakdown of enamel and therefore tooth decay.
Onions are well known as a food that promotes healthy teeth but shiitake mushrooms provide the same elements that fight bacteria and also have the ability to prevent the buildup of plaque. This is of course a huge advantage when combating tooth decay, and rather fortunately they don't leave us with onion breath.
A surprise inclusion on this list, bananas are the fruit with a feel-good factor that many doctors advise patients to eat regularly, especially if they are prone to feeling down in the dumps. This great fruit is also a fantastic source of magnesium which is required for the development of enamel and thus helps maintain healthy teeth.
We mentioned earlier that vitamin D was essential in helping the body to utilize calcium fully and other than the sun, there is no better source than fish with edible bones such as sardines. Brittle bones or teeth due to poor calcium absorption is an unpleasant experience that is easily avoidable with a good daily intake of vitamin D.
Meat is good for the development of teeth in young children as it encourages chewing, which is great for strengthening young teeth. But it is also high in protein that contains phosphorous, which helps strengthen your jaw and teeth. Just remember to floss after each meal as pieces of meat can easily become lodged between your teeth resulting in bacteria growth.
Avoiding food that causes tooth decay is only half the battle, just as important is choosing the right food for your teeth. Remember that everything you eat has either a positive or negative effect on your dental health, so choose wisely and keep those pearly whites in good shape.
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Jeremy Hall is an orthodontist and senior partner at Chelsea Dental Clinic. He has spent many years studying the rights and wrongs of dental health and has made it his own personal crusade to inform and educate the public at large. He has adopted the philosophy that life is a series of lessons to be learned and with this in mind is constantly seeking to improve his knowledge of his field of medicine.