How to Protect your Pearly Whites with Nutrition

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As you grow older, maintaining healthy teeth and gums becomes imperative.  Nutrition is as important as flossing and brushing—it really is. And it’s not just about avoiding sugary food and drinks; it’s also important to eat foods that promote healthy gums and teeth. Do you want to know what they are? Here are my top recommendations!

  • Detergent foods

Am I asking you to put detergent in your teeth?  Of course not!  Dentists refer to foods that have a pretty low pH, are filled to the brim with water and fiber and have a crunchy texture as “detergent foods.”  These foods literally clean your teeth. Some great examples include cucumbers, celery, carrots, and apples. Eat them at the end of a meal to help clean those gems in your mouth!

  • High-calcium and phosphorous foods

Calcium is as awesome for your teeth as it is for your bones. Calcium and phosphorus is a dominant duo for your teeth. These two minerals can actually re-mineralize your teeth enamel. In fact, tooth enamel is almost entirely composed of calcium phosphate (Calcium + Phosphorous as you may remember from chemistry class).

Some great high-calcium/high phosphorous food choices include: nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, dairy products, and fish bones (euu…gross…I know, but canned salmon is a great example…just crush the bones in it and you have an awesome calcium phosphorus action happening).

  • High vitamin C foods

Vitamin C manufactures collagen so it is an excellent nutrient for keeping your gums healthy. The best vitamin c choices include strawberries, kiwi, oranges, red peppers, and kale.

  • Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic are natural anti-bacterial agents. Sautee your meat and veggies with garlic. Add both garlic and onions to soup. Red onions are delicious in salads. These two rock stars help prevent the leading cause of tooth decay, plaque buildup.

  • Green tea

Green tea is the ultimate powerhouse for your teeth. It lowers the acidity in your saliva (preventing plaque buildup), is a natural anti-inflammatory (very helpful for maintaining healthy gums), and it kills the microbes that make your mouth stink (so it’s a natural breath freshener).

There have been several studies indicating how incredible green tea is for your teeth. A recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology studied 940 men between the ages of 49 and 59 and discovered that the men who drank green tea regularly had far better oral health than those who did not.

Try applying at least a couple of these recommendations between now and your next dental checkup—I bet your dentist will see improvement!

 

Celebrate World Milk Day

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Today, I have chosen to #RaiseaGlass to celebrate #WorldMilkDay!

World Milk Day is a day established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. It has been observed on June 1 each year since 2001.

I love milk because just one glass can deliver you some awesome nutrition. Here are just a few of the nutrients that make milk amazing and what these nutrients can do for you:

One nutrient that immediately comes to mind and that many of you know about is calcium. Milk is loaded with it; this nutrient is important for your teeth and your bones!

Milk also has phosphorous, which works in tandem with calcium for strong teeth and bones.

Milk is an excellent source of protein, which is absolutely essential for muscle growth, development, and repair.

Milk also has potassium, making it a great choice for keeping yourself hydrated!

Milk is rich in iodine, which is the most important nutrient for assuring that you have a healthy thyroid; it is also helpful in keep you energized!

Speaking of energy, the B vitamins in milk (B5, B2, and B12) are great for maintain great energy levels, keeping you focused and reducing fatigue.

I choose to give my girls milk for a bedtime snack. It keeps them feeling satiated throughout the night, giving them a good night’s sleep.

I also let them have chocolate milk for a snack! In fact, it is probably the healthiest sweet drink kids can have, especially when you make it with dark chocolate syrup (sans the high-fructose corn syrup) like I do!

#Raiseaglass with me today; milk is definitely something to celebrate!

By Kelly Spring, MS, RD, CDN