Protecting your enamel is so important for your oral health, to avoid issues in the future such as tooth decay and tooth loss, as well as other issues such as gum disease. As well as avoiding very sugary foods and drinks where possible, along with those that are highly acidic, there are plenty of foods out there that are filled with great nutrients to help strengthen your enamel. We’re going to be introducing them today, along with really simple ways you can incorporate more of them into your diet if you’re unsure how to! Add a few of these foods to your diet and your teeth will thank you for it.
First up we have dairy products, known to be great for the strength of your bones, but they’re also great for the strength of your enamel! This is because the protein within dairy products contains casein, which helps to develop the protective film over the surface of the teeth, known as enamel. This then helps to protect against foods that are bad for your enamel, as well as overall wear, to improve the strength of your teeth over time. It can also help to strengthen your jaw, which in turn helps with your overall oral health!
Dairy is really simple to incorporate into your diet. From having milk in your cereal to yogurt as an afternoon snack. Cheese is also a good one to add in, as you can simply sprinkle on top of a range of dishes or add to a sandwich. It’s best to focus on foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt as these have high levels of calcium, even if they do have slightly higher fat content (so should be eaten in moderation). Avoid dairy products like cream cheese, sour cream, cream, and butter, with lower calcium and much higher levels of fat.
Crunchy vegetables are great for naturally cleaning the teeth, as well as stimulating the flow of saliva, which when combined helps to remove residue of food on the teeth and therefore, prevents the decay of the enamel. Not to mention, raw vegetables contain lots of different nutrients that also help with the strength of your teeth and bones. Different colored vegetables tend to contain different nutrients that are good for different things, so try to eat a wide variety of different colors!
One of the best ways to eat your crunchy vegetables is to cut up green, red, and yellow peppers, cucumber, celery, and carrots, then place them on a plate with a tub of hummus or tzatziki in the middle. This is such a tasty snack that doubles up as being fantastic for your teeth! It’s also swift and easy, to help you get healthy with a busy schedule! Or, chopping up crunchy vegetables into small pieces and eating them with honey and mustard dressing as a side with chicken or fish is such a delicious and healthy side.
Another great food that you should be incorporating into your diet to help strengthen your enamel is leafy greens! Kale, spinach, swiss chard, bok choy, rocket, and collard greens are all very high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, particularly vitamins A, C, E, and K, all of which play an important role in maintaining healthy teeth and gums! They help to provide a barrier against cavity-causing bacteria, so are a great addition to your diet.
The best way to keep the mineral density in these foods is to eat them raw, so a salad with a leafy green base is a fantastic choice. For tougher leaves like kale, massage them with oil and salt to help tenderize them, making them easier on the stomach. You will still reap the benefits of the nutrients when cooking them, but try to avoid boiling if possible, as quite a lot of the nutrients will go into the cooking water.
Cooking in a pan with oil, roasting, adding to curries and pasta sauces, or baking into pies are all great options to help maintain the majority of the nutrients. Our favorite way to eat any leafy greens is to make a pesto! Add any leafy greens into a blender with a big handful of fresh basil, a clove of garlic, a glug of extra virgin olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon, a handful of walnuts, cashews or pine nuts, salt, and pepper, then blitz until smooth. You may not be able to fit all of your greens in the blender the first time, so you can add the leaves a bit at a time. This is a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge, it takes literally 2 minutes to make, then add to a wholewheat pasta and you have a delicious and nutritious meal ready in 10 minutes that is fantastic for your teeth. Sprinkle with walnuts to finish, as you’re about to find out how great they are for your teeth, too!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are more nutrient-dense foods that you should be incorporating into your diet. They are naturally low in sugar and are high in both calcium and phosphorus, both of which help to fight off the bad bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay. Luckily, nuts and seeds are so easy to incorporate into your diet!
The example above with the pesto can be interchanged with any different nuts and seeds. Then top the dish off with a few more nuts or seeds for extra nutrients and an added crunch! Put chia seeds or sunflower seeds into your morning oats, sprinkle them over a salad at lunch, or mix them into your soup as a great, healthy alternative to croutons. Blend seeds into smoothies or add sesame seeds to your spicy dishes. Even just have a handful of nuts as a snack! Have two little jars of mixed nuts and mixed seeds handy in the kitchen and you’ll find so many different ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods in your diet is fantastic for all elements of your health, along with protecting your enamel! If you ever have concerns about your enamel, make sure to visit your dentist. No matter where you are in the world, going to see your dentist should be a priority, as you can control your oral health through your diet but some people are genetically more inclined to experience tooth decay. So, do what you can to protect your enamel by eating the nutrient-dense foods above, but also ensure you are keeping up with regular dental check-ups to keep your smile as happy and healthy as possible!