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We are quite often asked what are the best foods to eat that will help, not hurt, your dental health. The foods you choose can help build healthier teeth and gums, and at the same time they can also assist in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.

We will cover some of the basic tips in a good diet:

Dental Health and Calcium

Do you think only the young can benefit from Calcium? Not so, a diet rich in calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones and strong teeth. Consuming enough calcium can also help prevent tooth decay. Typically, American diets do not include enough calcium and this causes the body to leech the mineral from your teeth and bones. This can increase your risk of tooth decay and cavities.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends 1,000 mg of calcium daily for women younger than 50 and for men of any age, and 1,200 mg for women over 50. Where can you find natural calcium? It is found in dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt; in fish, including sardines with bones and salmon; and in some vegetables, including kale and broccoli.

Dental Health and Vitamin C

Your body needs vitamin C to repair connective tissue and help the body fight off infection. Studies have found that those who eat less than the recommended 75 to 90 mg per day are 25 % more likely to have gingivitis than those who eat three times the recommended daily allowance.

So just eating one piece of citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines) or a kiwi daily will help you meet the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin C.

Dental Health and Fruits and Vegetables

Eating crunchy fruit and veggies — such as apples, pears, celery, and carrots — are wonderful for your teeth in a couple of ways. The crisp texture acts as a cleaner for your teeth, wiping away bacteria that can cause plaque. Additionally, these foods require a lot of chewing, and this can increase the production of bacteria-neutralizing saliva.

Dental Health and Tea

Yes, tea may stain teeth, but studies have shown that compounds in black tea can destroy or suppress the growth of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque, which in turn helps to prevent both cavities and gum disease. Just try to brush your teeth, or rinse you mouth, after having tea.

Dental Health and Water

Always drinking plenty of water helps teeth as it works to rinse away both bacteria and the remnants of food that bacteria turns into plaque. Normal tap water can actually be better for teeth than bottled because it contains fluoride, which prevents tooth decay.

Now, Foods to Avoid

At the top of every dentist’s list of foods to avoid are sugary snacks, especially gummy candies and hard candies that stick in your teeth. Regular sodas are also near the top of the ‘foods to avoid list’ since they cause a double hit to teeth, combining sugar with acids.

Remember, even foods and drinks that are good for your teeth, such as milk, contain sugars. Therefore, no matter what you eat, it’s very important to brush and floss afterward — or at least to rinse your mouth with water. As always, brush twice a day, and remember to visit a dentist at least twice a year for checkups.