Many types of food ― if eaten in excess ― can damage your teeth, while certain types of food and drink can give your oral health a big boost. Keep your pearly whites strong and healthy by regularly consuming the following:
1. Dairy products
Dairy products like milk and cheese contain a protein called casein, which represents about 87 per cent of all proteins present in milk. Scientifically, casein has been proven to prevent adherence of bacteria to enamel. Milk also contains calcium, which forms strong teeth and bones.
Probiotics target infection-producing bacteria in your mouth. Studies have found that probiotics reduce bleeding in gums and the formation of dental plaque. It also counteracts bacteria that produce sulphur compounds ― the odorous substance that causes bad breath.
Black and green tea contain polyphenols, which contain cavity-fighting properties that suppress and potentially kill the bacteria that causes plaque.
Tap water in Singapore is fluoridated, and fluoride helps protect against dental decay. Water not only washes away leftover food residue, sugars and acids, it also stimulates the production of saliva and protects against dry mouth.
“Probiotics reduce bleeding in gums and the formation of dental plaque. It also counteracts bacteria that produce sulphur compounds ― the odorous substance that causes bad breath.”
5. Leafy greens
Rich, leafy greens are nutrient dense and full of calcium and folic acid. Calcium enhances tooth re-mineralisation, and folic acid helps preserve gum tissues and prevent gum disease. The leafy fibres also remove food and plaque. Some examples include kale, spinach, broccoli and cabbage.
Nuts are high in vitamins and calcium. Peanuts are high in calcium and vitamin D, while almonds are high in calcium. Research shows that vitamin D not only helps to reduce the risk of caries, it also boosts your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Crunchy juicy fruits with a high water content clean teeth by washing away plaque. Although fruits such as apples have sugar as well, they also have high fibre and water content that help to dilute the fruits’ natural sugars. Oranges are high in vitamin C, which keeps your gums strong and healthy. The act of chewing fibrous foods also has a brush-like action on the tooth surface, removing both food particles and plaque.
Meats such as chicken and fish are high in phosphorous, which is the second most abundant mineral in the body. Phosphorous not only helps to balance other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, iodine, magnesium and zinc, it is also needed to build strong bones and teeth. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are also high in vitamin D.
Dr Ashley Thean practises at Thomson Dental Centre.
This article first appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Thomson Medical’s Celebrating Life magazine.
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