10 foods that are good for oral health
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Misbah Wasi

Functional Nutrition Specialist, Scientific & Regulatory Advisor for Health Supplements

Misbah Wasi is a seasoned professional in the field of Nutrition Science and Food Regulation for over 15 years. Currently, she is lendin her expertise in the area of Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals and is an active member of the Standards Review Group (SRG) - Nutraceuticals FSSAI Ms. Wasi is a post-graduate in Food and Nutrition. Certified Lead Food Safety Management Systems Auditor (FSMS, FSSC 22000) and a certified FoSTaC traine for Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals. She is also a Subject Matter Expert for ‘Food Regulations in India’ for IFLR (International Food Laws and Regulations) course at Michigan State University.

10 foods that are good for oral health

Maintaining good oral health goes beyond just brushing and flossing; it also involves making mindful dietary choices. The foods we consume can have a significant impact on the health of our teeth and gums. By incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet, you can support strong teeth, healthy gums, and overall oral well-being.

Oral diseases, such as dental caries and periodontal disease, are a global problem for both children and adults, and they are associated with other systemic diseases. Diet plays a crucial role in influencing the oral mucosa, and cariogenic foods, like fermentable carbohydrates, contribute to oral bacteria that demineralize and erode tooth enamel. Healthy dietary patterns have a protective effect on oral health. Dental caries can develop early in life, especially in children who sleep with a bottle containing milk or sweetened liquid. The elderly are also vulnerable to oral problems and have an increased risk of low nutrient intake and absorption.

Here are some foods that are particularly beneficial for oral health:


  1. Fresh vegetables
• Vegetables that contain lots of water are great natural teeth cleaners because they stimulate the flow of saliva, which helps to scrub away food particles and bacteria.
• Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage contain isothiocyanates, which have antibacterial properties and may help fight against harmful oral bacteria.
• In addition to loads of nutrients, carrots are also one of the great cavity-fighting vegetables. Carrots contain vitamin C, calcium, and keratins which all offer dental benefits. When combined with your saliva, carrots help to wash away stain-causing bacteria and food particles. 


    1. Fruits like Apples and Pears
    • It has traditionally been observed that ending a meal with a hard food or fruit is a means to prevent oral diseases such as caries and periodontal disease. Eating apples or other hard fibrous fruits can help clean your teeth and increase salivation, which can neutralize the citric and malic acids left behind in your mouth. And while sugary apple juice may contribute to tooth decay, fresh apples are less likely to cause problems. This is because chewing the fibrous texture of apples stimulates your gums, further reducing cavity-causing bacteria and increasing saliva flow. Unlike many acidic fruits, raw pears are good at neutralizing acids in the mouth that cause tooth decay.


      1. Cheese, Curd and Milk
      • Cheese is a strong gustatory stimulant to salivary flow – which helps neutralize dental plaque acids, thus preventing dental caries development. It is low in sugar and contains casein protein for fortifying tooth enamel. Being rich in calcium, it is important for maintaining bone density. Cheese is also high in phosphate content, which helps balance pH levels in the mouth, which helps to preserve tooth enamel.
      • Milk is rich in calcium and other important elements. like cheese, it also lowers the acid levels in the mouth, which helps fight tooth decay. Curd is packed with calcium and probiotics that protect against cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath.


        1. Greens leafy vegetables
        • Vegetables like spinach and kale are a good source of calcium, vitamin C, and fiber which helps to maintain healthy gums and increase saliva production. They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that promote oral health.
          • A study found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of gum disease.
          1. Vitamin C-rich foods
          • Vitamin C is good for the body due to its antioxidant properties and for growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body
          • The collagen in the dentin of teeth depends on vitamin C for maintaining its strength and structure through synthesis.
          • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is important for the synthesis of collagen and the prevention of oxidative damage.
          • Foods high in vitamin C, help to stimulate saliva production and reduce plaque buildup and gingivitis. Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and also malic acid, which could even naturally whiten your teeth. The inclusion of fresh fruits and veggies being rich in vitamin C, (such as apples, pears, strawberries, pineapples, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, and cucumbers), in diet maintains oral health.


            1. Foods packed with polyphenols
            • Polyphenols are a category of chemicals that naturally occur in many of the foods and drinks we consume, including teas and coffee. They offer several health benefits, including their role as antioxidants.
            • Drinking cups of green and black tea can help to sustain dental health. This is because the drink lacks any sugar and can help keep saliva in the mouth while lowering its acidity. It can also help wash away dental plaque and reduce cavities.
            • Berries contain polyphenols that inhibit bacterial growth. Cocoa has polyphenols that fight oral bacteria and tooth decay. It has been observed that green tea extract mouthwash is effective in reducing plaque and gingivitis.


              1. Foods with fluoride
              • Fluoride prevents tooth decay by making the enamel more resistant to the action of acids. They accelerate the buildup of healthy minerals in the enamel, further slowing the occurrence of decay. Studies claim that in some, fluoride can stop already-started tooth decay.
              • In children younger than 6 years fluoride is incorporated into the enamel of permanent teeth, making the teeth more resistant to the action of bacterial and acids from foods 
              • Food sources include Grape fruits, cocoa, tea, dried fruits and nuts, and fluoridated water. Supplementation and topical application prevent dental caries. Black tea also contains fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and helps to strengthen enamel.


                1. Sugarless chewing gums
                • Sugars contribute to dental caries and periodontal disease because bacteria ferment them and produce acid, leading to the demineralization of the tooth structure. Studies reveal that lactose (milk sugar) is less cariogenic than other sugars. Research indicates a direct relationship between dental caries and the amount and frequency of sugar intake observed.
                • Xylitol, a sugar alcohol produced by the hydrogenation of xylose sugar, is an artificial sweetener used as an alternative to conventional sugars. It may have an antibacterial effect against periodontal pathogens. Hence, a reduction of sugar intake, coupled with the use of xylitol- and maltitol-containing gums has the potential to improve the periodontal health of the general population. Also, chewing these sugar-free gum can help to increase saliva production, wash away food particles, and neutralize acids in the mouth.
                • Research shows that polyols like erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol have been established as tooth-friendly and are used in sugar-free confectionery and chewing gums. 


                  1. Nuts
                  • Nuts are a rich source of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus and are beneficial for teeth. Peanuts for instance are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, whereas cashew nuts are known to stimulate saliva. Walnuts contain everything from fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc.


                    1. Cranberries
                    • Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which can help prevent bacteria from adhering to teeth and forming plaque. consuming cranberry juice helped reduce plaque and gingivitis. They are also rich in polyphenols (just like tea) and provide antioxidant benefits.


                      It is important to note that while these foods can contribute to good oral health, they should be part of a balanced diet. Brushing teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings are essential for maintaining optimal oral health.



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