Not surprisingly, teeth are affected by what you eat. Mix in brackets and arch wires and this is doubly true. We say don’t just do your taste buds a favor and keep your dental health in mind during mealtimes.
“Certain foods are proven to help fortify teeth and gums,” says New York City orthodontics provider Dr. Mark Bronsky. “Orthodontic treatment is less problematic when teeth are healthy, so I encourage patients to select foods that benefit their dental health.”
Sadly, not all oral health super foods are compatible with braces, but these delectable edibles are:
Cheese. The high levels of calcium and phosphate in this snack bring a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Say cheese!” Cheese helps destroy oral bacteria, strengthen the enamel, balance pH levels in the mouth and is essential to a killer sandwich.
Milk. Similar to cheese, calcium-rich milk strengthens teeth and bones. Milk also neutralizes lingering acids in the mouth. Acidity is the chief threat to the enamel, which guards teeth from decay. Other dairy products like yogurt provide these benefits, too.
Sweet Potatoes. Not only are sweet potatoes yummy, they’re chock full of Vitamin A. This vitamin plays an important role in enamel formation and gum tissue healing. A warm, baked sweet potato can also help soothe the occasional soreness caused by braces.
Pears. This tasty fruit spurs saliva production, which is necessary to washing away plaque and bacteria and facilitating remineralization. Pair pears (we couldn’t resist) with a glass of milk for the perfect tooth-friendly snack. Just be sure to slice them into bite-sized pieces, first.
Fish. Add healthy gums to the endless list of reasons to eat fish. Scientists at Harvard University have connected the omega-3 fatty acids in fish to a lowered risk of gum disease. We love fish because it’s safer to eat than tough, chewy meats.
Green Tea. This ancient drink has been kicking oral bacteria’s butt for centuries. Green tea also helps prevent cavities and gum disease while slowing the formation of bad breath-causing germs.
Water. No surprise here! Water fights against dry mouth, keeps gums hydrated, stimulates saliva production and rinses away plaque. Drinking plenty of water also creates an oral environment with less harmful bacteria. Drink up!
Of course, these dental health super foods aren’t so super if they’re not combined with an adequate oral hygiene routine. Be sure to brush twice daily for at least two minutes at a time with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove wedged plaque and food particles from teeth and appliances. Floss by weaving waxed floss under arch wires every day. Close out your routine with a swish of antibacterial mouthwash.
Want more braces-friendly diet advice? Ask us at your next appointment. Happy eating!