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5 of the best foods for your teeth

Whether it’s in the form of a traditional meal, midday or midnight snack, food is one of the most delicious aspects of daily life. Just to perform the most basic of human functions, the body requires nutrients, the same ones found in food. So food doesn’t just do your taste buds a world of good, it does the same for your muscles, bones, brain and more.

But since the things we eat also can lead to gingivitis, staining and cavities, it’s a shame that food can’t be as good for our teeth as it is for our cells. Well, the truth is, it can be. It all depends on the ones you choose.

In no particular order, here are a few of the best foods for your teeth and what makes them so beneficial. You may notice that they carry some common characteristics:

1. Spinach
Found in garden salads or cooked as a side dish, spinach is perhaps best known for its green colour and high iron content, which is fairly unusual for a vegetable. A 3.5 ounce serving has as much as 15% of the recommended daily amount of iron the typical person should consume. This leafy green is also packed with a lot of vitamin C.

But what makes spinach so good for your teeth is its high water content, as water helps to naturally clean the teeth of food particles and deposits. It’s also crunchy and the crunching action stimulates saliva flow. Spinach also has a lot of calcium, which helps to reinforce enamel, the invisible layer surrounding your teeth that acts as a shield from harmful bacteria. Approximately 100 grams of spinach — roughly three-quarters of a cup — contains about 99 milligrams of calcium.

2. Apples
From Fuji to Honey Crisp to Gala and Braeburn, apples come in many different varieties. There are believed to be over 7,500 varieties worldwide. Whichever one you choose, apples are great for the teeth for many of the same reasons as spinach; they have a high water content, are chockful of vitamin C and are naturally crispy (some varieties more so than others). Apples are also very high in fiber, a key nutrient for oral health because it helps to stimulate the saliva flow that can neutralise the acids that lead to plaque buildup.

Apples contain phytochemicals that fight off bad breath. Apples contain phytochemicals that fight off bad breath.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that anything containing apples makes it a good food for your teeth. Apple sauce, apple cider, apple juice and apple pie are all loaded with sugar, which can lead to tooth decay. So if you’re looking to leverage the oral health benefits of apples, stick with the hand fruit itself.

3. Nuts
In today’s fast-paced, grab-and-go world, snacks are typically associated with the packaged kind, like crackers, cookies, candy bars and cakes. Nuts are one of the rare snacks that are good for you even though typically come in a package. Be it walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds or macadamias, nuts are replete with heart-healthy and teeth-nourishing nutrients, such as calcium and phosphorus. We talked about calcium earlier, but phosphorus functions as a sidekick to calcium by helping the body to absorb calcium more effectively than it does on its own.

Nuts are naturally rich in both of these crucial minerals and support the structure of your teeth and maintain their natural hardness. As for how much phosphorous is in nuts, a quarter of a cup of peanuts contains roughly 560 milligrams. But that’s nothing compared to the amount of phosphorous in brazil nuts. One cup contains around 965 milligrams, which is 96% of the recommended daily amount.

4. Kiwis
Yes, New Zealanders are called kiwis, which refers to the flightless bird of the same name, but the actual kiwi — meaning the fruit — happens to be great for your teeth. The reason why goes back to their calcium content, much like the other foods listed here. In addition to helping to bolster the strength of the enamel, calcium neutralises the acids found in foods and beverages that contain a lot of it, like soft drinks, sauces, tomatoes and citrus fruits. Contrary to popular belief, kiwis aren’t a citrus fruit but are botanically considered a berry. The lesser-known name of the kiwi is the Chinese gooseberry.

Kiwis are also very high in fiber and because highly fibrous foods typically take more time to chew, the saliva flow that results helps to clean and rinse the mouth in much the same way as water.

5. Strawberries
All of the foods referenced here are great for your teeth, but what about the gums? Look no further than strawberries. Strawberries contain many of the great vitamins and minerals already listed, but they also help your body produce the collagen that your gums need for support and repair. This is made possible by their high vitamin C content. Just four to six berries have 70% of the vitamin C dietitians recommend consuming per day.

All these foods can contribute to the health and longevity of your teeth, but good nutrition must be complemented by brushing, flossing and regular oral care checkups. Contact City Dentists to schedule a cleaning today.

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