9 Foods to Eat for a Beautiful Smile, and A Few to Avoid

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2013-11-13 21:41

Every day, you brush and floss your teeth to keep your mouth healthy. Have you thought about your diet as well? Certain foods are known to help keep teeth and gums strong, while others can darken and stain teeth or put you at a higher risk for gum disease.

1. Stock up on crunchy foods, such as carrots, celery and nuts. These cause saliva to flow which neutralizes the acids formed by cavity-causing bacteria. Also, the solid texture of fibrous fruits and vegetables can help get rid of excessive plaque on the teeth.

2. Got Milk? Dairy foods, such as milk and cheese provide calcium, which keeps teeth – as well as bones – healthy and strong. In addition, vitamin D-fortified milk is good for oral health as well. A study from the New Jersey Dental School in Newark found that vitamin D may help fight bacterial infections that attack the gums and lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. Another dairy nutrient, casein, may also help reduce cavity formation.

3. Go for Yogurt. In the Journal of Periodontology, researchers from Japan published a study that analyzed the dietary intakes from nearly 1000 adults and found that those who consumed yogurt rich in probiotics had the healthiest gums. Yogurt may also have the benefit of stopping the growth of bad-breath-causing bacteria.

4. Indulge in a Little Chocolate (yes, you read correctly!). A study published in the dental journal Caries Research has found that an organic compound found in chocolate called theobromine may help to remineralize and harden tooth enamel at a rate greater than fluoride.

5. Snack on Raisins. You might think that because raisins are sweet and sticky that they might not be a good choice for your teeth. However, raisins contain boron that is a trace mineral linked to bone and tooth health as it is required for the conversion of vitamin D to its most active form. Raisins also contain phytochemicals that suppress the growth of certain bacteria associated with caries and gum disease.

6. Have Some Citrus. Even though citrus fruits are acidic, these foods can increase saliva flow and protect tooth enamel. They also contain vitamin C, necessary for healthy gums.

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