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The Best Foods to Eat If You Want Healthy Teeth

Nov 01, 2023
Food is a vital part of how our bodies get energy for just about everything, and the kind of foods you eat affects both your dental and overall health. Let’s look at the foods that will help you and your teeth stay healthy.

Everybody needs to eat, and there are plenty of foods out there we find to be simply delicious. And if we’re lucky those goods also turn out to be good for us because what we eat isn’t just filling our stomachs or pleasing our taste buds. Food is a primary source of nutrition and fuel. Anything that goes into our mouths can affect our bodies for better or worse, starting at the very beginning of the digestive process with our teeth and gums.

To keep your mouth healthy, brushing, flossing and other forms of dental hygiene are very important, but what we eat affects the damage done to teeth in the first place, and that affects the germs and bacteria that create problems for our dental health. To further explore how this impacts your health, let’s look at what happens when you eat, what bad food does to your teeth, and the best foods to keep them healthy.

If you live in the Sacramento, California area and you’re trying to improve your nutrition to help your teeth, Dr. Peter Kim and his team at Sierra Oaks Dental can help you determine which foods are good for your dental health.

What happens to your teeth as you chew food

As the first step in your digestion, breaking down food is vital to how your body processes and absorbs its nutrients into the bloodstream to spread everywhere it needs to go. The process of chewing food is also known as mastication, where the food that enters your mouth is ripped, torn, and ground down before it goes down your throat. Saliva is a key part of digestion, and it helps to break down food, keep your mouth moist, fight germs, and has proteins and minerals to help protect teeth. 

What bad food does to teeth

Processed foods and foods and drinks high in sugar not only have very little to offer in the way of nutritional value, but excess amounts of them wear down the enamel on your teeth, and that erosion leads to problems with dental caries (cavities) periodontitis (gum disease). Both of these conditions contribute to tooth decay, which leads to losing teeth and creating problems in speech and the ability to eat. It can also lead to oral cancer, which can affect the lining of the mouth, lips, and upper throat

The best foods for your teeth

Focusing on natural foods is a good way to keep teeth healthy, so to keep teeth healthy here are some important dietary tips about what to eat:

  • Leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, arugula, chard, and turnip greens are examples of greens that are food for your teeth and your body
  • Fruits: the acid in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits can harm teeth, but in moderation, they improve oral health, along with apples and other fruits
  • Grass-fed dairy: dairy foods from animals that feed on grass in particular are found to be high in vitamin K2, so milk cheese, and butter made this way can actually help teeth
  • Fatty fish: mackerel, tuna, trout, and salmon are all rich in omega-3 fats your body needs, as well as vitamin D which helps to reduce tooth decay
  • Chocolate: sugary chocolate candy bars and other snacks are bad for teeth, but low-sugar dark chocolate or cacao nibs are helpful in your oral microbiome

Keeping your teeth healthy helps to keep your body healthy, so these foods can help you manage both. If you want to know more about dietary changes to improve dental health and other ways to keep your teeth in top shape, make an appointment with Dr. Kim and Sierra Oaks Dental today.