Eat your way to better dental health

Eat your way to better dental health

Choosing the right things to eat – along with regular brushing – can help maintain your teeth in top condition. Here are five foods to keep the sparkle in your smile.

Keeping your teeth healthy used to be a matter of just avoiding certain danger foods: sugary treats that contribute the build-up of dental plaque. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing was the only way to actively maintain your dental health. Now, thanks to recent research, we know that eating some foods can help to strengthen teeth and keep them clean in between brushings. Try adding these five things to your menu for healthier, beautiful teeth.

High-fibre foods with low sugar and acidity are perfect for your dental health. Crunching on a celery stick stimulates the production of saliva, which protects your teeth in three ways. It neu-tralises the acid that can weaken your protective enamel, it kills bacteria that form plaque and it clears away the food particles that they grow on. If snacking on celery seems like too much of a chore, try an apple – they’re not just good for keeping the doctor away, they could help reduce trips to the dentist!

Green tea
It’s full of antioxidants with all sorts of health benefits, but the latest discovery about green tea is that it can also protect your teeth. Researchers believe that antibacterial compounds called catechins are the secret ingredient, providing a natural teeth-cleaning effect. Just a cup a day had a significant effect on people aged between 40 and 64, according to the Japanese study. But beware if you like your tea sweet: adding sugar eliminates the dental benefits.

Cranberries are another natural way to fight bacteria. The berries contain an enzyme that prevents bacteria from clinging to the teeth and may also help prevent the formation of plaque. Take care, though, the sugar and acid in some cranberry products can undo all this good work. For the best effect, look for products with low sugar and only consume them at mealtimes, to give your teeth time to recover.

Vitamin C is essential for gum health, and preventing gum disease means preventing one of the leading causes of tooth loss. It might seem surprising, but there’s more vitamin C in broccoli than in the same weight of oranges. Research also suggests that broccoli may be especially good at protecting the teeth from acidity: experts suggests its high-iron content forms a protective film over the delicate enamel.

Onion and garlic both contain sulphur compounds which attack the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. The catch? They need to be eaten raw. Try slicing onions thinly in a salad, with plenty of breath-freshening – and delicious – mint and parsley.

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