Healthy diet, healthy teeth: how to eat your way to a brilliant smile and better oral health

By Claudia Cortadi, DDS

The holiday season is just around the corner, bringing with it a wide variety of opportunities to eat, drink and be merry. For many of us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are prime times to indulge in rich flavors and sweet treats; but in addition to the impact they can have on one’s waistline, fatty and sugary foods and beverages can also take a toll on oral health and hygiene – putting the body at risk for much more than just a few pounds’ worth of holiday weight-gain. Most people know that brushing and flossing are staples for a healthy oral hygiene regimen. But amidst the winter festivities this year, remember that a balanced diet can also be a major factor in overall oral health – and a critical ally in the fight to keep teeth, gums and the rest of the body strong, clean and disease-free.

When it comes to general health, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, lean protein, whole grains and unsaturated fats is the best way to ensure balanced nutrition and energy on a daily basis; and conveniently enough, the same can be said for optimal oral health. However, as noted in

Everyday Health

, there are several key foods and nutrients that stand out when it comes to building strong teeth and preventing gum disease.

Smile-saving foods to add to your diet

When consumed on a regular basis, the following foods can help fortify teeth and gums with vital calcium, Vitamin C, cleansing and strengthening agents:

  • Calcium-rich foods, including lowfat dairy, salmon, kale and broccoli, to strengthen bones and teeth and help prevent gum disease
  • Vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits including kiwis, grapefruits and oranges, to prevent gingivitis
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables, including celery, apples and carrots, to help swipe away bacteria on teeth that can lead to plaque build-up
  • Black tea, to aid in the suppression of cavity-causing bacteria
  • Water, to help wash away bacteria and food remnants and thus prevent plaque build-up

By incorporating these foods into a daily regimen that also includes consistent brushing, flossing and dental office exams, most people can keep oral health issues at bay while simultaneously improving their overall fitness and physical well-being. As the holidays draw near (and with them, the temptation to eat sugary baked goods, rich meats and sweetened beverages), remember to maintain balance by adding crunchy veggies, healthy fruits and plenty of water to festive meals – and to brush, floss or rinse with water after every meal for added protection. Finally, once the holiday rush has passed, don’t forget to make an appointment with a qualified dental professional for a routine cleaning and exam. For more information, visit us online: