Keep brushing, but change your eating habits to achieve a whiter smile. These foods can help give you healthier teeth.
Good dental hygiene involves more than just brushing, flossing and swishing around a bit of mouthwash. Everything you put in your mouth has an effect on both the health and appearance of your teeth and gums. Here are the best things to treat your mouth to…
1. Green tea
Catechins, which are compounds contained in the leaves, can actually combat plaque (that slimy film you can feel on your teeth, which matures into tartar and gum problems like gingivitis) and cavity-causing bacteria that live on your teeth. These powerful compounds have a toxic effect on the bacteria, making it harder for them to stick to teeth and produce plaque. The only problem? Green tea can be staining, so swish with water after every cup.
2. Shiitake mushrooms
The only mushrooms out there that contain an important sugar called lentinan, which inhibits the bacteria that live on your teeth and in your mouth from producing plaque. And the less bacteria on your teeth, the less likely you are to get cavities.
Who knew a hotdog could help your gnashers? This condiment is a natural antibacterial that contains isothiocyanates, a compound that can actually stop the bacteria in your mouth from multiplying. Mustard oil also has the properties of a stain remover, so if you lightly rub it on your teeth it can help remove coffee or smoking stains.
Natural compounds found in onions have an antibacterial effect on the bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth. Unfortunately, they’re most effective when the onion is raw. Good for your teeth, not so good for your breath…
This natural breath freshener is a common flavouring to most oral hygiene products, for good reason. Not only for its fresh flavour and scent, but because the plant itself actually has anti-inflammatory properties which protect your gums when you brush and eat. Interesting fact: the fresh breath is from vinyl compounds from the mint getting deep into your lungs and throwing out freshness as you breathe.
Drinking and swallowing water causes turbulence in the mouth, creating a small washing machine-like effect that does away with food particles and cleanses your mouth. The amount of food you have on your teeth has a direct effect on the activity of bacteria and the acid they produce, and less food means less acid. Drinking and swallowing also makes you produce saliva, which helps neutralise any acids that remain on your teeth.
Cheese keeps your mouth and teeth healthy in a whole host of ways: it’s low in carbohydrates, which is favoured by the bad bacteria in your mouth.The pH of cheese has a neutralising effect similar to your saliva, which helps fight the cavity causing acid bacteria produce. It also makes your teeth stronger by having supporting the production of enamel, thanks to its high vitamin C content.
This tropical fruit contains loads of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, which is essential for teeth (and hair) growth and maintenance. Compounds in guava also help support teeth enamel making sure your smile stays white.
This furry little fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is important for collagen production. This means it makes sure your gums are a strong foundation for your teeth. A lack of this vitamin can lead to gum disease like gingivitis and, in a worst case scenario, tooth loss.
This and other lean meats contain important minerals like calcium and phosphate that help repair and maintain the enamel on your teeth.
Its tough fibres act like a natural toothbrush – food particles are literally rubbed off the teeth as you chew your way through the stems. And the less bacteria on your teeth, the less acid around to cause cavities.
12. Sesame seeds
Most seeds act like a natural exfoliator for the inside of your mouth. While you eat them, they move around your mouth and teeth, scraping away any excess food particles and plaque from your teeth. Sesame seeds are also high in calcium, which helps build and maintain your teeth and bones.
Usually just used as a garnish, parsley can be so much more. Like mint, it has a freshening effect thanks to compounds called monoterpenes. These help counteract strong smelling foods, making a quick chew of parsley a great way to freshen up your breath.
An apple a day will not only keep the doctor away, but the dentist too! Chewing on a crisp apple forces you to chew for longer, which helps brush away bacteria from your teeth. It also causes you to produce saliva, which (along with the water in the apple!) helps wash away any bad microbes in your mouth.
Carrots and other hard, fibrous foods make your mouth and jaw work, as it has to cut through and crunch them down. This process massages your gums, encouraging blood to fill the tissues. Making sure your gums get enough nutrients from blood is important for keeping them healthy.
With a healthy supply of important minerals such as magnesium, phosphate and calcium, these are essential for teeth growth and maintenance.