Did you know certain foods are good for your teeth more than others? You can actually benefit your oral health by doing something you have to do – eat! If you want to make the most of taking care of your oral health at home, look for these foods at the grocery store. The more of these you include in your diet, the more you can benefit your teeth.

lovely couple enjoying a sushi meal together

Wasabi

Otherwise known as Japanese horse-radish, this condiment not only provides zing to sushi, it also protects your teeth. A 2000 study in Biofactors revealed that the substances that make wasabi taste hot, called isothiocyanates, also inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Wasabi kill bacteria in sushi and your mouth! Double win.

Green Tea and Black Tea

Green tea contains substances called catechins that kill the bacteria in your mouth that turn sugar into plaque. Catechins also wipe out the bacteria that cause bad breath. Both green and black tea contain polyphenols that kill off or prevent plaque bacteria from growing.

Kiwis

For their size, kiwis pack more vitamin C than any other fruit. One large kiwi supplies more than 100 percent of your recommended daily amount. If you don’t get enough vitamin C, research shows that the collagen network in your gums can break down, making your gums tender and more susceptible to the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.

A bowl of yogurt on a table

Yogurt

Just like cheese, yogurt is high in protein and calcium which makes it a smart choice to promote strong and healthy teeth. Yogurt also contains probiotics that can promote good bacteria to push out bad bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. For best results, stick with plain yogurt or yogurt that doesn’t contain any sugar.

Onions

Onions contain powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds. In a 1997 test-tube study, onions killed various types of bacteria, including S. mutans. Research indicates that they are most powerful when eaten freshly peeled and raw. Of course, raw onions can do a number on your breath, so be sure to have some fresh parsley on hand…

Parsley

Chewing parsley benefits your breath! By simply chewing parsley or mint leaves after a pungent meal will help you maintain sweet-smelling breath. These herbs contain monoterpenes, volatile substances that travel quickly from your bloodstream to your lungs, where their odor is released via your breath.

Sesame Seeds

Seeds slough off plaque and help build tooth enamel. Sesame seeds, for example, are also high in calcium, which helps preserve the bone around your teeth and gums.

Shiitake Mushrooms

A 2000 study in Caries Research showed that lentinan, a sugar found in shiitake mushrooms, prevents mouth bacteria from creating plaque.

Water

Drinking water keeps your gums hydrated and is the best way to stimulate saliva–your body’s greatest defense against the bacteria that cause plaque and cavities. Rinsing your mouth with water also helps wash away trapped food particles that decompose in the mouth and cause bad breath.

Celery

Celery protects your teeth in two ways. The extra chewing it requires produces plenty of saliva, which neutralizes the bacteria Streptococcus mutans that causes cavities. Additionally, chomping on naturally abrasive foods massages gums and cleans between teeth.

Bowl of celery, chopped in a bowl sitting on a wood table top

Chocolate

Yep! You read that right. As long as you’re indulging in 70% cacao and eating chocolate in moderation, it’s actually good for your teeth. Dark chocolate has a compound called CBH which can help harden tooth enamel. Therefore, eating chocolate can make your teeth less susceptible to cavities! It’s not the chocolate though, it’s the cocoa bean. Eating sugary chocolate bars won’t do you any good. You should also still brush your teeth afterward to prevent stains and cavities.

Leafy Greens

Not only do leafy greens contain a surplus of vitamins and minerals but they’re also high in calcium, folic acid, and a B vitamin which can promote healthy teeth and gums and even possibly treat gum disease in pregnant women.

Apples and Carrots

Apples and carrots are both crunchy foods that can help scrape away plaque and food particles away from your teeth when you chew. Also, they require more chewing than other foods which increase your saliva production and washes away more plaque and bacteria. As a bonus, carrots and apples are high in vitamins to keep your mouth healthy.

Cheese

Studies from the last decade show that cheese, with its low carbohydrate and high calcium and phosphate content, provides several benefits for your teeth. It helps balance your mouth’s pH (an acidic pH encourages the growth of cavity-causing bacteria). Cheese also preserves and rebuilds tooth enamel and produces saliva, which kills the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum after a meal can help increase your saliva production to wash away some of the bacteria remaining in your mouth after your meal. The stickiness of the gum can also help remove stuck food particles in your mouth. When you choose sugar-free gum, you don’t have to worry about getting cavities.

For more information on how to keep your gums and teeth healthy, give our Columbia, SC dental office a call at (803) 781-9090 or contact us onlineDr. Hahn is happy to help you get a healthier smile!