In general, we hear a lot about foods and drinks that are bad for our teeth. Everyone knows that coffee and wine can stain those pearly whites, while soda, candy and foods high in processed sugar can erode enamel. However, foods on the other side of the spectrum often fly under the radar. In the same way some meals can take a toll on your chompers, others can keep your teeth strong and healthy. With that said, a couple minor changes in your daily diet can make a big difference in your long-term oral health. Here are five foods you can eat regularly to make dental health a priority:
Cranberries may seem like a strange food to benefit oral health care, but they're rich in polyphenols, which can help prevent plaque from building up on teeth. Since polyphenols, which are found in a wide range of healthy foods and drinks, have this ability, they can help fight cavities. However, it's worth noting that since cranberries also contain a lot of sugar, their cavity-fighting power may be somewhat minimized, according to Live Science. Fruit high in Vitamin C also have oral health benefits - most notably kiwis and strawberries.
Onions, especially when eaten raw, boast compounds that defend the teeth against bacteria. Luckily, onions can be implemented in a variety of nutritious and delicious meals. If you want to get the full benefits of onions in their raw form, consider garnishing a lush green salad or adding some slices atop a tasty sub sandwich. When cooking, onions can be caramelized and stand on their own or be added to olios such as goulash, stew or stir fry.
3. Green tea
A Japanese study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that men and women who drink green tea regularly were less likely to lose teeth later in life. What's more, green tea is loaded with polyphenols, so a cup each day can help keep plaque at bay. All in all, this comforting hot beverage is a staple when it comes to good oral health. Even better, green tea is relatively inexpensive, so a cup or two a day will probably add up to much less than your daily trip to the local coffeehouse.
Cheese has a ton of versatility in the kitchen. It is the backbone of many fantastic meals such as mac and cheese, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, potatoes au gratin and lasagna. However, cheese holds a lot of benefits besides being delicious. In fact, research published in the journal General Dentistry found that cheese can help lower acid levels in the mouth, which in turn reduces acid erosion. Cheese also encourages the production of saliva, which is integral in rinsing the mouth. Men's Health notes that it only takes a small serving of cheese to attain these benefits. Instead of scarfing down big chunks of cheddar or gouda, eat a little cheese at the end of a big meal to help protect your teeth for the long haul.
5. Crunchy fruits and veggies
The American Dental Association states that produce rich in fiber have a wide array of oral health benefits. Similar to cheese, these fruits and vegetables encourage the production of saliva, thereby cleansing the mouth of debris and bacteria. Moreover, fiber-rich produce actually scrubs the teeth, pushing away plaque and bacteria that has built up throughout the day. If you're looking for a teeth-friendly snack, skip the candy bars and chips. Instead, opt for an apple, carrots or celery sticks.