The Best Foods to Support a Healthy Smile

Historical evidence suggests that hunter-gatherers, our distant ancestors, had little tooth decay, despite not having access to modern dental care tools such as toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. 

Some specialists believe that the shift to an agriculture-based lifestyle harmed our teeth in two ways: It increased the amount of starch and sugars we consumed and introduced softer foods into our diet. 

Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria. Some of the bacteria residing in your mouth can help fight infections, while other types of bacteria are responsible for inflammation and tooth decay. 

The bacteria found in plaque loves sugar and starches. Therefore, when we introduced foods that were higher in sugar and starch, our bad bacteria thrived. As a result, we began to develop more and more cavities. 

So how can you eat like a hunter-gatherer and prevent the bad bacteria in your mouth from thriving? Below, our experts at Meadowbrook Dental Care share the best foods to support a healthy smile.

Salmon 

Salmon doesn’t contain any sugar or starch, and it’s filled with vitamin D, a hormone that’s vital to the absorption of many other minerals that keep your teeth strong and healthy. 

Other types of wild-caught fish, such as hake or mackerel, are also worth investigating. Recent research suggests that vitamin D supplements don’t provide the same benefits as vitamin D3 sourced from properly raised animals or created as a consequence of exposing the skin to the sun.

White tea 

White tea is the perfect warm beverage for your teeth. It’s jam-packed with plant antioxidants, and unlike coffee or green tea, it doesn’t stain the teeth.

If you like your tea sweet, look into honey. There are a lot of varieties with their own taste and flavor. Also, although honey has almost the same amount of carbohydrates as table sugar, some studies suggest that it may provide some protection against tooth decay.

Dairy products 

Minerals are key for healthy, sturdy teeth. Leafy greens are often touted for their calcium content, but very little of the calcium found in them is absorbable. 

For example, only 5% of the calcium in spinach is absorbed by the body. Because spinach contains oxalates, it may interact with calcium absorption from other foods as well. Dairy products, on the other hand, have a calcium absorption rate of 36%, and they don’t contain any anti-nutrients.

If you don’t enjoy dairy or have an intolerance to it, focus on calcium sources that are low in oxalates and phytic acid, as these can interfere with mineral absorption. Coconut milk and coconut cream can serve as good substitutes for dairy products. 

Sweet potato 

Sweet potato is a starchy tuber, but when soaked overnight, some of the starch leaks out into the water. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which helps maintain the integrity of the gums and prevent gum disease. 

Get expert advice on how to maintain your teeth healthy for longer 

Perhaps you won’t be able to maintain a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the modern world, but you can take a few steps to reduce your chance of developing cavities and gum disease. Keep in mind that what’s good for your overall health is also good for your teeth. 

Aside from maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular cleanings and early cavity treatments are key for prolonging the lifespan of your teeth. Contact us to schedule your dental exam to get a complete assessment of your dental health, and take action before you develop issues with your teeth.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What to Do About Periodontitis

Gum disease is a common dental condition in adults of all ages. What starts as mild gingivitis eventually progresses to periodontitis if left untreated, but seeking professional treatment can prevent further damage. Learn how to stop periodontitis.

When to Consider Dentures

One or more missing teeth can wreak havoc on your smile, but don’t overlook what it can do to your oral health. Nor should you overlook dentures as a way to fill in the gaps. When is it time to consider dentures?

4 Myths About Wisdom Teeth

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is something of a rite of passage for teens and 20-somethings these days. But does everyone even have wisdom teeth? And do they always need to be removed? It’s time to learn the truth.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Recurrent Jaw Pain

Jaw pain can vary from mild discomfort when you open wide to severe pain that keeps you from chewing or speaking normally. There are many possible causes of recurring jaw pain, but one thing is always true: You shouldn’t ignore signs of pain.

Benefits of Bone Grafting

Whether a tooth is extracted or falls out on its own, the vacancy it creates can compromise your oral health. Missing teeth increase your risk of bone loss and other tooth problems, but bone grafting strengthens your jaw to keep your mouth healthy.

Why Is It Important to Visit the Dentist Regularly?

Would you believe that 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and 40 million are missing all of their teeth? It would be no exaggeration to say that regular visits to the dentist may have prevented most of these outcomes.