Make sure you’re taking care of your teeth as part of your nutrition

Ever hear the phrase, “you are what you eat?” There is some truth to that statement since the food you eat plays a role in your overall health, as well as the health of your teeth. In honor of March – National Nutrition Month, we put together this list of what you should eat to help your teeth, plus what types of food can harm your teeth.

Go green

Chances are anything you read regarding National Nutrition Month will mention the benefit of adding leafy greens to your diet. Greens give you fiber, vitamins and minerals and are low in calories (providing you don’t drench a plate full of greens with salad dressing). But, greens do much more for your teeth. The high calcium content in spinach and kale keep your teeth’s enamel strong, plus these two leafy greens also contain folic acid.

Say “yes” to cheese and yogurt

Cheese and yogurt both contain calcium and protein, two essential nutrients that strengthen your tooth enamel. In addition, they each help your teeth in unique ways. One study found that cheese raises the pH level in a person’s mouth, which reduces the risk of tooth decay by neutralizing the plaque acid. Since yogurt contains probiotics, also called good bacteria, it’s thought that this can help your gums stay healthy.

End your meal with a crunch

You’ve probably been told you should brush after every meal. But what do you do if you’re eating lunch at a deli and don’t have your toothbrush? End your meal with an apple or a handful of carrots and celery. All three of these foods are crunchy so as you crunch and chew, food particles and bacteria are scraped off your teeth.

Go nuts for almonds

Like many of the foods mentioned above, almonds contain the ingredient for strong tooth enamel—calcium and protein. You can find pre-packaged bags of almonds in a grocery store. Keep them handy since they are a much better afternoon snack than a candy bar!

Reach for sugarless gum

When you chew on a piece of gum, your mouth secretes saliva. The saliva helps to wash away bacteria in your mouth. Just make sure the gum is sugarless.

Brush after sticky stuff

Can you imagine going through life without ever eating cotton candy, sticky buns or salt water taffy? Sweet treats add enjoyment to life, so don’t deprive yourself. Just remember to brush afterward.

Beware of acid

Did you know too many pickles are bad for your teeth? If you eat pickles more than once a day, the acid used in the pickling process can harm your tooth enamel. Grapefruit juice and lemon juice are also highly acidic. If you like to start the day with a glass of grapefruit juice, just remember to brush afterward.

Choose chocolate

Everyone knows candy isn’t the best thing for your health or your teeth. But if you have a choice between hard candy, sticky candy or a plain chocolate bar, the chocolate is the better option. Sticky candy and hard candy get stuck to the teeth, which gives bacteria more time to create cavities. After you’ve indulged your sweet tooth, remember to brush and floss!

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