Unlike many aspects of our health, taking good care of your teeth is mostly an outside job.

You brush, floss, use mouthwash and say, “Aaaah” so your dentist can get a good look at your pearly whites.

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But the old expression, “Put good in, get good out” wisdom applies to dental health as well. In addition to keeping up hygiene habits, you can help ensure a healthy smile by making sure your diet includes foods, herbs, and vitamins that are good for teeth and gums.

Food

  1. Fibrous Fruits & Veggies – It’s never a bad idea to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, but certain kinds have a texture that makes them nature-made teeth scrubbers. So, while you munch on things like apples and celery, the food actually cleans your teeth. Of course, this is no replacement for a brush & toothpaste, but it’s a lot better than many other snack options.
  2. BroccoliBelieve it or not, some studies show that broccoli protects the enamel on your teeth. One experiment even showed that people who ate broccoli before consuming soda experienced less acid erosion because the vegetable created an acid-resistant film on teeth.
  3. Green Tea – The tannins and polyphenols in green tea fight acid and bacteria that wreak havoc on teeth. Additionally, it may up your natural fluoride levels to help you resist enamel erosion.

Herbs

  1. Rosemary – One single tablespoon of this tasty Mediterranean herb has 4.2% of the daily recommended calcium. So, if you steer clear of dairy then you may want to consider adding more rosemary to your recipes to make sure you’re getting enough calcium to keep bones and teeth strong.
  2. Holy Basil – This is a slightly spicier relative of the basil you’re more familiar with and is often used in Thai cuisine. The herb functions as an astringent and goes to work on bacteria that can result in cavities and halitosis.
  3. Garlic – Though it may not do great things for your breath, garlic has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral properties, so it can help you avoid oral infections and decay. It has the most health benefits, however, when consumed raw.
  4. Turmeric – According to research, this spice shares some properties with mouthwash. One study even showed that it may be able to reverse oral pre-cancer conditions due to its mighty antibacterial and anti-inflammatory powers.  
  5. Cinnamon – While it doesn’t have a direct benefit on your teeth, cinnamon indirectly benefits your oral health. Scientific research has shown that including half a teaspoon of cinnamon in your diet balances blood sugar to help reduce cravings for sweets and simple carbohydrates.

Vitamins

  1. Vitamin A – To help make your teeth and bones as strong as they can be, make sure that your diet includes plenty of foods that are rich in Vitamin A. Seek foods that are high in beta-carotene, which the body turns into Vitamin A. Such foods include leafy greens and orange foods like carrots, sweet potato, mango, kale, and spinach.
  2. Vitamin B – Getting enough vitamin B helps prevent several oral health issues like canker sores, sensitive teeth, halitosis, cracked lips, receding gums and swollen tongue. Remember that there are 8 varieties of vitamin B and 6 of them (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12) are important for oral health.
  3. Vitamin C – This wonder vitamin is not just good for your immune system but is critical for keeping the bacteria in your mouth from getting into your teeth and gums. Don’t’ forget though that many foods that are rich in vitamin C are also acidic so you ought to think about including supplements as well as eating foods like bell peppers, cauliflower, pineapple, oranges, and mango.
  4. Vitamin D – This essential vitamin wards off periodontal disease and makes your bones and teeth better able to absorb calcium. To ensure you’re getting enough, up your intake of fish, dairy, egg yolks and vitamin D fortified foods such as juices and cereals.
  5. Omega-3 – While not exactly a vitamin, omega-3 is also in many of the foods you eat and can come in the form of pill supplements. It’s important for oral health because some studies showed that individuals who didn’t have enough docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from omega-3 were more likely to have periodontal disease. In addition to taking a supplement, you can also add more arugula, spinach, kale, fish and omega-3 fortified foods to your diet.

The healthiest people know that there’s never just one way to be at your best. Addressing your dental health from the outside is absolutely essential, but you can do even better by including these teeth-friendly foods, herbs and vitamins in your daily routines.  

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