Brushing and flossing, check. No sticky candy, check. These and a few smart food choices will go a long way to helping your mouth stay healthy and beautiful. To put your best face forward, include these seven foods in your daily diet, recommends cosmetic dentist Arthur Glosman, DDS, of Beverly Hills.
1. Herbs, especially minty ones
Spearmint and peppermint, as well as parsley, coriander (cilantro), eucalyptus, rosemary, and tarragon all fight bad breath and aid digestion, says Glosman. Look for oral-care products that incorporate these mouth-loving plants, too.
According to recent research, vitamin D in yogurt helps fight bad breath, plaque, and gum disease by creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria in your mouth. Also try kefir, a drinkable yogurt. With either form, avoid those with lots of added sugar and be sure they contain live, active cultures (check the label).
The French are on to something: Increasing evidence points to cheese eaten at the end of the meal as helpful in preventing tooth decay, reducing the breakdown of tooth enamel, and neutralizing acids formed in plaque.
4. Crunchy, raw vegetables and fruits
Stimulate circulation in your gums and encourage bacteria-flushing saliva by munching on apples, carrots, celery, green bell peppers, and cucumbers. With their natural fiber, they help “scrub” teeth naturally, dislodging food particles.
5. Vitamin-C-rich foods
An important immunity booster, vitamin C also creates an inhospitable scene for bacteria growth and wards off gum disease. Enjoy your fill of C-rich berries, citrus, and melons.
Green or black, tea’s antibacterial properties help prevent plaque buildup while simultaneously weakening existing plaque and bacteria.
7. Sugarless gum
Chewing sugarless gum after a meal helps stimulate bacteria-fighting saliva and dislodge food particles. Xylitol-enhanced gum, in particular, helps prevent cavities; just make sure it’s high on the ingredient list.