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.

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