Articles by Sárka-Jonae Miller


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The Healthy Teeth Diet

by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sarka_Jonae Miller

(The Best Years in Life) Could what you're eating be unhealthy for your teeth? It's common knowledge that sugary foods can rot your teeth and dark liquids like cola coffee stain your pearly whites, but there are other foods that threaten your oral health. Knowing what to avoid as well as recommended foods to prevent problems can lead to fewer painful problems with your teeth and gums, and fewer trips to the dentist.

Foods to Prevent Decay

Foods high in phosphorus and calcium are generally good for your teeth. These minerals help to stop tooth decay and protect the enamel on your teeth. Your teeth go through a natural process called remineralization, which simply means that your body redeposits minerals like calcium and phosphorus onto your enamel after they've been stripped away by acids. Many foods are acidic, and those acids eat away at your teeth enamel. Eating a mineral rich diet is just what you need to do to keep your teeth healthy.

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are high in calcium and phosphorus. Nuts, almonds particularly, a good source of calcium. Leafy green vegetables and legumes are high in calcium. Bok choy, broccoli, and dried beans are excellent choices. 

Eating fiber is good for your oral health as well. Fiber is important for saliva production, and that helps to prevent tooth decay. Those citrus fruits that you should be careful of because of their high acidic factor are full of fiber. It is smart to continue eating citrus fruits, but to combine them with other foods in a larger meal.

Raisins, dates, beans, almonds, and peanuts have high fiber content, as do bananas. Bran is practically all fiber. Vegetables are chock full of fiber too.  Many whole-grain products contain fiber. Whole grains have a large amount of iron and B vitamins. Brown rice and pasta are great choices for fiber.

A few specific foods you should add to your diet include celery, pears, and sesame oil. Raw celery is beneficial because you have to chew it, and that makes the saliva flow. A bonus to eating celery is that it contains fibrous strands that clean the teeth. Don't like celery? Try chewing sugar-free gum instead. This stimulates saliva and can dislodge food stuck in your teeth. Artificial sweeteners are largely criticized and best avoided, but Xylitol prevents bacteria from metabolizing sugar. These bacteria are what decay teeth. In a way, it helps to starve the bacteria so that they can't do any harm.

Pears stimulate saliva production too. Research shows that pears help to neutralize the acid on teeth. 

Sesame seeds may decrease harmful plaque. They are believed to assist with remineralization too. If those are enough reasons to consider sesame seeds and the oil made from them, research shows that gargling sesame oil works as well as mouthwash to kill bacteria, decrease plaque, and lower gingival scores. It isn't just Western medicine that advocates sesame oil. Practitioners of Ayurveda are proponents of sesame oil gargling.

Now you know what to eat but not what to drink. Water is always recommended for anyone, anytime. Unsweetened tea is also good for your teeth.


What Not to Consume

Beverages with sugar and artificial color and flavoring are definitely not recommended. If you do succumb to the temptation for coffee, soft drinks, and other unhealthy drinks try to drink them quickly and brush your teeth instead of sipping them over a long period of time, which exposes your teeth repeatedly to bacteria-feeding sugar and acids that lead to decay with every sip.

In addition to avoiding sweet drinks, avoid all sweet foods. Dried fruits are surprisingly bad for your teeth as they are not only sweet but sticky. They don't come off the teeth easily. Processed foods like French fries and chips are best kept to a minimum.

See also:

Make Your Own Safe, Natural and Healthy Tooth Pastes and Tooth Cleansers

Fluoridated Water is Unhealthy to Consume and It Isn't Good for Teeth


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About the Author

Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

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