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Have you ever wondered which foods could help keep you away from dental interventions? Daniela from Health Nutritionist explains her top ten foods to keep your dentist happy.

Did you know the quality of our diets and our oral health share a strong connection?1.

Good oral health is vital for our eating and digestion, as well as for our self-esteem and confidence to socialise2.

Diet is considered one of the main factors for tooth decay and enamel erosion. Poor nutrition also plays a role in the development of our teeth, as well as susceptibility to periodontal diseases and oral cancer4.

Let’s take a look at the top foods that look after our oral health:

Dairy

It probably comes at no surprise that dairy such as cheese, milk and yogurt are among the top allies to help maintain good oral health. Dairy products contain proteins and mineral such as calcium and phosphorous, which are two of the main structural components of our teeth and play an important role in their maintenance6,7.

Tofu and other plant-based dairy alternatives

Tofu is naturally high in protein and, like cheese, it contains lots of calcium.

Tofu is also high in magnesium – which is another structural component essential for the normal functioning of our teeth6,7.

Plant-based milks are commonly fortified with calcium and vitamin D, however, it is always important to check the label. 

Eggs

Eggs are great sources of vitamin D, which is essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth.

We need vitamin D to keep our teeth healthy as it helps our bodies 'lock in' the calcium from our diets as it passes through our small intestine and even helps our bodies pass calcium to our bones8.

Meat and seafood 

Both meat and seafood are excellent sources of protein, but red meat and fish also contain lots of fatty acids and vitamin D which can benefit our oral health.

Seafood is also a great sources of fluoride. Other sources of fluoride include water and black tea4.

Berries and citrus fruits

Strawberries, oranges and grapefruits are great sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is essential for normal collagen formation for the normal function of teeth and gums7 and is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including peppers and broccoli.

Green leafy vegetables

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and cabbage contain a range of beneficial vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, vitamin C and vitamin A, which are all essential for a healthy smile.

Carrots, peppers and sweet potatoes

Yellow, orange, red and green fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin A in the form of β-carotene. Other good sources include eggs, oily fish, liver and dairy products.

Wholegrains

Wholegrains such as wheat bread, rice, buckwheat, quinoa, rye, oats and cereals contain high amount of fibre.

It has been suggested that fibre can reduce the absorption of sugars and stimulate saliva production, which helps wash away acids and food particles.

Nuts

Nuts contain high amounts of protein and unsaturated fat, in addition to a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, among which magnesium and phosphorous. Nuts are also among the foods that stimulate salivary flow due to the mechanical action of chewing2.

Sugar substitutes and sugar-free foods.

Sugar is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay and cutting it from our diet where we can is a really simple way of making sure we're doing all we can to decrease our changes of cavities.

Opting for sugar substitutes such as stevia, aspartame, erythritol and mannitol can help decrease the risk of tooth decay10.

In addition, chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps our mouths produce saliva and neutralise the acids left behind after eating5.

There is not a single food that will prevent tooth decay, but there certainly are foods that can help protect our teeth and gums as part of a balanced diet. Among the nutrients beneficial for oral health are calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, fluoride, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and fibre.

Charlotte, The Health Nutritionist


About The Health Nutritionist:

The Health Nutritionist is run by a team of friendly, supportive nutritionists, centred around the goal of providing expert, accessible and clear nutrition advice to individuals, companies and clients.

Their mission is to provide practical nutrition advice to individuals, companies and clients

They offer consultations in our clinics across London, Berkshire, Bristol and online.

You can find them on Instagram @the_health_nutritionist, Twitter @H_nutritionist and on Facebook @healthnutritionist.co.uk.


References:

  1. Scardina, G. A. and Messina, P. (2012) “Good Oral Health and Diet” Functional Foods: Towards Improving Oral Health 2012, 720692 https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/720692 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2012/720692/
  1. Moynihan, P.J. (2005) “The role of diet and nutrition in the etiology and prevention of oral diseases” Bulletin of the World Health Organization 83 pp. 694-699
  1. Public Health England (2021) “Inequalities in oral health in England: summary” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inequalities-in-oral-health-in-england/inequalities-in-oral-health-in-england-summary 
  1. Moynihan, P. (2007) “The interrelationship between diet and oral health” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 64(4) https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/interrelationship-between-diet-and-oral-health/C35087AD071E9A61DE82FF0B7B87DAA7
  1. Moynihan, P.J. (2002) “Dietary advice in dental practice” British Dental Journal 193, pp. 563–568 https://www.nature.com/articles/4801628
  1. Uwitonze, A.M. et al. (2020) “Oral manifestations of magnesium and vitamin D inadequacy”
  1. EFSA (2021) EU Register on nutrition and health claims https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/register/public/?event=search
  1. EFSA (2009) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to vitamin D and maintenance of bone and teeth (ID 150, 151, 158), absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorus and maintenance of normal blood calcium concentrations (ID 152, 157), cell division (ID 153), and thyroid function (ID 156) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061 EFSA Journal 2009; 7(9):1227 https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1227
  1. EFSA (2009) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to vitamin C and protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage (ID 129, 138, 143, 148), antioxidant function of lutein (ID 146), maintenance of vision (ID 141, 142), collagen formation (ID 130, 131, 136, 137, 149), function of the nervous system (ID 133), function of the immune system (ID 134), function of the immune system during and after extreme physical exercise (ID 144), non‐haem iron absorption (ID 132, 147), energy‐yielding metabolism (ID 135), and relief in case of irritation in the upper respiratory tract (ID 1714, 1715) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1226
  1. American Dental Association (2021) “Nutrition: What You Eat Affects Your Teeth” The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 200, 105636 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105636