Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly are both key ingredients to having a healthy smile, but did you know that your everyday nutrition has a large impact on your dental health too?
We’ve put together our top 3 nutritional tips to protect the health of your smile for life. Read on below to find out what you can do – starting today!
Tip #1: Eat a large variety of whole foods.
Eating a large variety of whole foods can go a long way to ensuring that you’re meeting your required daily intake of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including those required to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Be sure to include plenty of vegetables, fruits, seeds, whole grains and protein foods such as beans, nuts and other legumes to ensure you’re covering all of your nutritional bases. If you’re used to eating a lot of junk food (e.g. foods high in sugar such as chocolate, cake, chips and other empty carbohydrates), there’s still hope! After just a few weeks of eating healthier foods, your tastebuds will adapt, and healthy food should begin to taste better to you. With time, cravings for high-sugar foods should begin to fade too.
Best of all, the benefits of increasing your intake of whole foods doesn’t stop at your teeth. A healthy diet can help you to avoid a huge list of chronic diseases later in life too. Your whole body will thank you!
Tip #2: Limit your sugar intake.
Limiting your sugar intake can be one of the most effective changes for turning around your oral health, not to mention your general wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
Consuming excessive sugar is associated with a vast array of health issues, from tooth decay right through to obesity, which can have a significant impact on your lifespan.
As mentioned above however, human taste buds are very adaptable, and although it may not be easy in the beginning, reducing your sugar intake should get easier over time. The World Health Organisation recommends that we consume less than 6 teaspoons a day, but a 2012 survey showed that most Australians consume around 14 teaspoons per day – more than double the limit!
It’s very important to take note of how much sugar is in the everyday foods you eat, as it can sneak in unexpectedly in common items such as pastry, bread and drinks. Foods you may not think twice about, such as cereal or sauces, may contain surprisingly high amounts of sugar. If you can get into the habit of checking labels, or better yet, cooking more food from scratch and avoiding processed/packaged foods, this should make a significant difference to your daily sugar intake.
Tip #3: Incorporate plenty of dental superfoods!
There are certain foods that your teeth with especially thank you for! Getting your fill of probiotics and calcium can help the good bacteria in your mouth to stay balanced and flourishing. Apples, black raspberries, cranberries, leafy greens, broccoli, tofu and almonds are just some of the foods you can choose to give your smile an extra boost.
If you’re not a fan of eating certain vegetables, such as spinach, kale or broccoli, the next time you make yourself a fruit smoothie you may want to try adding a few of them in! The fruit will usually mask any vegetable taste, and allow you to boost your daily servings of vegetables without so much as a grimace!
With all of these tips combined, alongside regular checkups and professional dental cleaning, you should be well on your way to lifelong healthy teeth and gums!