You Are What You Eat

When it comes to the basics of oral hygiene, brushing, flossing and regular trips to the dentist are a must. But did you know how much your food affects your oral health? Whether you're a healthy eater or not, your food stays in your mouth for much longer than you realize. This is why sugary foods and drinks can be harmful to your teeth and gums. The remaining sugar can dissolve enamel on your teeth and leave your gums vulnerable to infection. Eating right won't cure tooth or gum disease, but a balanced diet of calcium-rich and fibrous foods can strengthen your natural defenses against it.

Calcium

Calcium is great for your teeth and bones. Many dairy foods like yogurt, cheese and low-fat milk are especially good for your oral health. Calcium strengthens your teeth's enamel, the natural defense against decay and bacteria. Good news for cheese lovers too. Cheese raises the pH levels in your mouth, lowering the risk of tooth decay. As you eat cheese, your mouth produces more saliva. Besides dairy, other calcium-rich foods include seafood, tofu and almonds.

Fruits & Veggies

Celery may not be exciting, but it's great for your teeth. Other water-rich fruits and veggies like apples, cucumbers and carrots are especially good for your mouth overall. Any fibrous plant serves as a scrubber to scratch off plaque and other gunk from your teeth. They also produce more saliva to rinse away old particles.

Leafy greens are also full of vitamins and minerals while staying low calorie. Kale and spinach are especially high calcium to build enamel. Pregnant women, in particular, should have a steady diet of greens that contain folic acid to prevent gum disease. Eat plenty of these and other plants that contain vitamin C like bell peppers, oranges, kiwi, strawberries and broccoli. This vitamin strengthens blood vessels and reduces inflammation for healthy gums.

Be Pro-Probiotic

When talking about oral hygiene, it's easy to think that all bacteria is harmful. While there are pests that can cause bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay, some bacteria can be extremely beneficial to your mouth, digestive system and body as a whole. Foods such as yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and other fermented foods contain probiotics. These helpful snacks decrease plaque and promote healthy gums.