Caring for your teeth should not be limited to your brushing and flossing habits. What you eat each day also has an effect on your teeth. For example, 76 percent of Australian teenagers exceed the recommended daily sugar intake set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It should come as no surprise then that the rate of dental treatment for cavities in children aged 0-14 has soared over the past 13 years. There is simply too much sugar in the Australian diet.
However, while you would be wise to ensure that you and your children limit your intake of sugary foods while brushing and flossing regularly, you might also want to seek out foods that actually benefit your teeth too. When thinking of such foods, you might imagine milk products for their calcium, or vegetables for their minerals.
There are some foods; however, that might actually surprise you when it comes to their dental health benefits.
A handful of almonds a day is surprisingly good at keeping the dentist away. Almonds contain calcium, Potassium and vitamin E, all of which strengthen your teeth. Calcium is one of the building blocks your body uses to create tooth enamel. If you or your children drink too much cola, for example, which saps your calcium from your teeth, almonds can help to replace that lost calcium.
Vitamin E helps to keep your gums healthy too, protecting them against inflammation caused by gum disease. Furthermore, potassium helps to strengthen your bones and keep the bone around your teeth sturdy.
Chocolate is the last thing that comes to mind when you think of foods beneficial to teeth. However, while it does add to your waistline, a chunk or two of dark chocolate can benefit your oral health.
Dark chocolate contains 53.5 mg of cachetins, i.e. antioxidants. These antioxidants are beneficial to your teeth because they protect them from the acid produced by tooth decay-causing bacteria. However, milk chocolate contains significantly fewer cachetins and so is not a substitute in this regard.
While red wine does stain teeth, if consumed in moderation—like most things—the antioxidants found in wine referred to as proanthocyanidins, help to keep harmful bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Oral bacteria, such as streptococcus mutans cling to your teeth and feed on the sugars you eat. Once they have metabolized this sugar, these bacteria secrete acids which then erode the enamel of your teeth. However, a glass of red wine a day can help to keep these harmful bacteria from damaging your teeth.
Though these foods are beneficial, like anything, you need to moderate how much of them you partake of. Include them in your daily diet; however, and your teeth will benefit, meaning less cavities and a lower risk of gum disease.