Whether you’re snacking or having a meal with the family, if you pick your food carefully, you could also clean your teeth naturally
Sakina Syed, hygienist for Bupa Dental Care in London’s Bank practice, commented: ‘Lots of people think that brushing twice a day is enough to keep our teeth in top condition. However, we also need to think about what we’re eating. And it’s not all bad news – just as there are some foods that will be bad for your teeth, others can act as a natural toothbrush and keep your smile sparkling!’
Here, Sakina’s given her top suggestions for food that can help clean and protect our gums and teeth:
‘Apples’ fibrous skins can help clean teeth and act as natural massager for the gums. The juicy flesh also works well to remove other food debris from between teeth,’ says Sakina. Nutritionally, apples are also a great snack – plus they’re convenient, cheap and readily available.
There are also certain vegetables that, like fruit, can give your mouth a workout and improve its health. ‘Leafy greens like kale, spinach and celery are high in fibre and low in calories, which makes them great vegetables for teeth. Like apples, the fibre content in leafy greens helps by scrubbing away food debris and plaque while you eat it,’ says Sakina.
‘Crunchy foods require more chewing, which stimulates saliva production and naturally cleans teeth. In addition, carrots contain multiple B vitamins, which fight gingivitis,’ Sakina explains. Carrots also contain beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A and can help with night vision and boost your immune system.
Not only are nuts full of healthy unsaturated fats and a source of protein, they are great for cleaning and strengthening your teeth. ‘Like carrots, these crunchy snacks can help us produce saliva to clean teeth and regulate the pH of the mouth,’ explains Sakina.
If you’re a cheese lover, you will be glad to know that – when eaten in moderation – cheese can benefit your teeth. ‘Cheese contains high levels of phosphate and calcium, which naturally strengthen teeth and bones. It also helps balance the pH level in your mouth, which means less harmful acid, more cleansing saliva, and fewer cavities,’ says Sakina. Cheese is high in saturated fat and calories as well, so stick to a 30g portion (small matchbox size) as part of a meal.
Calcium is also crucial for building strong teeth. Discover ways to add more calcium into your diet here.