The Dental Diet: 10 Foods that Strengthen Your Teeth

Kara Vavrosky, RDHEP with The Dental Diet by Dr. Steven Lin.

You have probably heard the old adage, “you are what you eat.” Sure, this sounds like common sense advice, but diet and dental health have failed to focus on foods you should eat. We now realize that this saying is important for oral health. Each food that you put in your mouth affects your dental health.

Teeth and eating always go together. So, are you eating enough foods good for your teeth? Healthy teeth are one of the best measures of your overall health. With so much confusion about diets and healthy eating, why isn’t their focus on dental health? The mouth-body connection is our best way to determine good nutrition.

The problem for most people is that you aren’t aware of the foods that strengthen your teeth. This article will outline the top ten foods for diet and dental health. To get started, include servings of these foods into your diet. Mix and match these listed items to create delicious meals for a true oral health diet!

1) Avocado

These days, you can’t seem to go a day without seeing avocado! They’re so popular that restaurants have even opened that specialize in avocado dishes. While avocado seems to be enjoying its day in the sun, savvy eaters have enjoyed it for many years. Avocado can improve your health, and it is great for a diet for dental health.

Avocado flesh is full of prebiotic fiber that promotes healthy digestion. These types of fiber feed probiotic bacteria in your oral and gut microbiome. Healthy digestion is important for overall bodily health and well-being. That said, certain avocados have more fiber than others. The dark green Haas variety has more fiber than the lighter green Florida avocados. So if you’re looking to max your fiber, you can choose these.

In addition to fiber, avocados are packed full of important fatty acids. These fatty acids help you to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients vitamins E and K1. Healthy fats can also keep you fuller for longer. Avocados also contain folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6.

An avocado a day keeps the doctor away!

2) Kefir

Kefir is a delicious, tangy, fermented milk drink that originated in the Middle East. It is great for overall health and a powerhouse for oral health. In addition to its fatty acid profile, it contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. This is a perfect mix to absorb this crucial mix of healthy teeth nutrients.

Kefir is also a rich source of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. This diverse microbial makeup, (similar to probiotic yogurt) is great for healthy digestion. Diverse intestinal flora and gut health can have benefits for your teeth. Your gut flora controls your immune system and in turn, helps manage infection in the mouth.

The lactobacillus bacteria in kefir is thought to inhibit strep mutans (tooth decay-causing bacteria). Regularly eating fermented foods like kefir is a way to help prevent tooth decay.

3) Spinach 

It turns out that Popeye was right – spinach is good for everyone! This leafy green vegetable is packed with vitamins and minerals. Spinach is a good source of iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and folic acid. These vitamins and minerals will improve your dental health. Adding spinach to your smoothies or pasta sauces is also a good way to get extra fiber in your diet.

In addition to vitamins, spinach gives you a boost of antioxidants. These substances remove damaging oxidizing agents from your body. The benefits of antioxidants extend to healthy mouth too!

4) Butter

While you might not think of butter as healthy, it is one of the best foods for healthy teeth. People have long shied away from butter, worrying that it will lead to unchecked weight gain. Don’t fear butter! The saturated fat in butter won’t make you fat. It releases hormones that keep you full and satisfied and won’t spike blood sugar.

Butter is also a good source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, vitamin D, and vitamin K2. But this depends on it being from a grass-fed cow. So spread to your heart’s content. Butter is a very important part of an oral health diet.

5) Asparagus

Asparagus is a delicious summer vegetable, but did you know it contains important fiber? Asparagus is a great source of inulin; a prebiotic fiber that helps you digest probiotics. You might already know about the health benefits of probiotics. They are the good bacteria that help keep your gut in good health. The importance of healthy digestion also extends to dental health. Your stomach bacteria affect your overall health and the entire digestive microbiome.

The inulin found in asparagus feed your probiotic digestive flora. Add asparagus to your diet as a big boost of fiber. A healthy gut microbiome is key to healthy teeth.

6) Liver

Liver has a long history in many culinary traditions. Today, it’s not as common, but does it deserve its bad reputation? No! Liver is actually one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Liver is one of the best sources of fat soluble vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. It’s also packed with vitamin C (more than blueberries or kale), as well as iron.

The nutrient profile of liver makes it a perfect food for oral health. Eat 1-2 servings a week to keep your mouth, gums, and teeth at their best.

7) Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage full of live probiotic cultures for healthy digestion. These are the microbiota that manages your dental and gut health. Fermented sauerkraut contained lactic acid forming bacteria. Not only are these healthy bacteria good for your gut, they are good for your teeth.

Studies have shown that lactic acid releasing bacteria inhibit disease-causing bacteria. This helps prevent tooth decay naturally. They also prevent gum disease and balance your oral microbiome.

Sauerkraut is also a source of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is released by the bacteria that live in the mouth and intestines. However, they’re also found in fermented foods. It is essential for healthy teeth, gums, and healthy digestion. It’s one of the most ignored nutrients in the Western diet. Your body needs it to prevent dental decay.

With white or red cabbage, sauerkraut has a delicious tangy taste and a great crispy crunch. It can add flavor and zest to your family’s meals.

8) Chicken Drumsticks

You might think of a skinless breast as the healthiest part of the chicken. It’s the cut that is lowest in calories in calories right? Well, chicken drumsticks have better health properties for healthy teeth. Chicken drums, thighs, and wings are all rich in collagen. When you cook and eat this collagen, it is excellent for joint health.

Collagen is also crucial for your gum health. Gum disease is a loss of the collagen ligament attachment to your teeth.

Another way to gain these nutrients from your chicken legs is to make a stock. There is some truth to ‘chicken soup for a cold.’ A chicken bone broth or stock contains many nutrients and collagen. All of this is good for your oral health and strong teeth.

9) Parsley

Herbs are full of medicinal properties. Parsley has been shown to have many anti-bacterial agents. Studies have shown that it is also rich in antioxidants. The phytonutrients in parsley can help your overall health.

It is really easy to add parsley to your daily diet. Italian parsley has a nice peppery flavor. It makes a great addition to salads and as a topping to your meals. You can even add it to your smoothies and pesto sauces. Consider chopping and adding more than just a sprig of fresh parsley to your meal. Not only is parsley good for your body, but it can also really freshen your breath.

This is something you will need if you eat the final food on our list….

10) Garlic

Garlic has long been known to be good for the body and teeth. While it adds a delicious flavor to food, it is also very good for your oral health. Garlic is loaded with antibacterial properties.

The key lies within a component of garlic called allicin. This is the chemical that gives you the dreaded ‘garlic breath.’ Allicin makes garlic antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial. Allicin has also been shown to help fight oral flora imbalance. It does this by controlling the bad bacteria that cause dental diseases like cavities and gum disease.

Garlic is also a good food for strong teeth because it contains prebiotic fiber. This prebiotic fiber will help your gut health. Remember – a healthy gut will lead to healthy teeth and gums!

Adding garlic to your soups, salad dressings, pastas, and stews will help you incorporate more garlic. Try combining it with some of the ingredients listed above for a delicious meal.

Parsley, grass-fed butter, and garlic are a great combo! So too are asparagus, chicken legs, and garlic. Mix, match, and enjoy! Eating foods for healthy teeth has never tasted so good.

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