10 non-dairy foods for healthy teeth

By Jess Robinson, Adv Dip (Nut Med)

Like the rest of your body, teeth require certain nutrients to thrive. Foods that are high in calcium, vitamins A and D, phosphorus and fibre are all excellent for strengthening and protecting your teeth. Calcium Complete is a calcium supplement with supportive vitamins and minerals to help maintain healthy, strong bones and teeth. If the price of teeth whitening is enough to make you run in the opposite direction, read below for 10 foods that can naturally brighten your teeth:

1. Celery

Celery, as well as other crunchy foods like carrots and cucumbers require more chewing to eat, thus producing more saliva. Saliva production is a big deal, as not only does it keep your tissues healthy but it also helps eliminate food particles from teeth and gums and helps prevent decay. One of the other benefits of celery is that due to its rough texture, it also cleans the tooth’s surface while you chew.

2. Chia seeds

These nutritional powerhouses are not only great for digestive health and energy production but are full of the vitamins and minerals healthy teeth love, like calcium, vitamin A, fibre and phosphorus. Available in the health food section of most supermarkets, they can be easily incorporated into your diet by adding a tablespoon into your morning smoothie, granola or trail mix.

3. Coconut oil

A worthwhile investment as coconut oil has got to be one of the most versatile foods you can buy. Not only is it useful for cooking, moisturising and several other uses, it’s also very beneficial for maintaining dental health. Simply swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes helps to draw out toxins that accumulate in your mouth, thus helping to prevent tooth decay and produce a clean environment where pathogenic bacteria cannot thrive.

4. Fatty fish

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as sardines, salmon and mackerel, are not only good for brain health, but are also good for your teeth. These fish are a great source of vitamin D, which helps the body to better absorb calcium, and phosphorus, which helps to protect tooth enamel. If you are not partial to fish, you may want to consider investing in a fish oil supplement.

5. Apples

Not only are these fruits delicious, but they also act as a deterrent for teeth debris and gum bacteria. Their crisp texture and high-water content increase the production of saliva, washing away pathogenic bacteria that cause plaque build-up which over time leads to discolouration.

6. Nuts

Similar to apples, nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews and macadamias stimulate the production of saliva which can aid in the removal of harmful bacteria. Furthermore, the abrasive texture of nuts can also help to remove existing surface stains.

7. Cruciferous vegetables

This encompasses vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and collard greens particularly in their raw form, as because they are high in fibre and have a slightly coarse texture they have a scrubbing effect on teeth. In addition, the high iron content in dark greens such as broccoli and kale, helps to create a thin coat to protect teeth from enamel-eroding acids found in soft drinks and energy drinks.

8. Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in particular contain a tooth-friendly compound called lentinan, that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that bring about tooth decay and discolouration. These tasty fungi go well in soups, stir-fries, salads or quiches.

9. Strawberries

These delicious red berries contain malic acid, a natural astringent which aids in the breakdown and removal of surface stains.

10. Pineapples

These tropical fruits specifically contain an enzyme called bromelain, which is not only a powerful anti-inflammatory and digestive aid but can also assist in the removal of stains.

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