There are many reasons to pay attention to what you eat. Maybe you want to lose weight. Have more energy. Lower your cholesterol. Improve your overall health. It’s no secret the foods we choose to put into our bodies affect us in a variety of ways. So you may not be surprised to learn that our diets affects our teeth and gums specifically.

Here are a few foods that should be incorporated into any tooth- and gum-friendly diet. Make an effort to eat them regularly. And call Aberdeen Smiles to get your next checkup in the books and to learn more about nutrition and oral health. Dial our Aberdeen, SD dental office at 605-277-9049.

Dairy Is Your Friend

Calcium is a mineral that’s stored almost entirely in your bones and teeth. It also happens to be responsible for their hardness and structure. Your teeth continuously shed calcium (and other minerals) in a process called demineralization. So it’s essential that calcium be replenished in a process called — you guessed it — remineralization.

This is where dairy comes in. Milk and products made from it are excellent sources of calcium. They also provide your body with phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D, which help you better utilize the calcium.

Dairy products also contain caseins, proteins that bond together into a coating of sorts that protects your tooth enamel from destructive bacteria and acids.

One study has shown cheese to have its own benefit: it appears to raise the pH level of the mouth, which results in an oral environment unfriendly to bacteria.

Eat Your Leafy Greens

If you haven’t already, it’s high time to jump onto the kale (and spinach, watercress, Swiss chard) bandwagon. Leafy greens are superfoods that benefit your entire body, including your mouth. These vegetables are packed with tooth-strengthening calcium. This makes them especially valuable for anyone who doesn’t consume dairy products. They are also rich in folic acid. This mineral promotes gum health by reducing inflammation and bleeding and making gums better able to resist the effects of harmful bacteria. For pregnant women, it may offer protection against the hormone-induced condition called “pregnancy gingivitis.”

Raw Vegetables Clean Your Teeth

It’s true. An apple a day keeps the dentist away! Eating raw, crunchy vegetables and fruits like apples, carrots, and celery is great for your oral well-being. Their fibrous texture benefits the gums, plus the act of chewing them stimulates the production of saliva. And saliva is your body’s way of keeping your mouth clean: it rinses away food particles and bacteria and neutralizes acids that would eat away at your tooth enamel. Plus, of course, fruits and veggies are nutrient powerhouses.

Don’t Forget to Drink Your H20

Make water your beverage of choice. Drink it frequently throughout the day and choose it over sodas and juices. Water keeps your body hydrated and it’s a great way to keep your mouth clean when you don’t have a toothbrush.

Follow these healthy-mouth guidelines, and your teeth and gums will benefit. To schedule an appointment with Aberdeen Smiles and learn more about the nutrition and oral health connection, fill out our online form or call our Aberdeen, SD dental office at 605-277-9049.