Having a bright white smile isn’t just a fad or passing fashion; flashing your pearly whites is a sign of good health and an excellent level of hygiene, but how exactly do you keep your smile looking at its best, and can food be the answer?
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How Tooth Plaque Is Formed
Plaque is an ugly but natural substance on your teeth; it’s composed of a sticky bacterial biofilm that adheres to surfaces such as the teeth and can be formed by a variety of micro-organisms, including Streptococcus mutans.
Plaque is what causes bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis. This film forms when foods containing carbohydrates are consumed, which are broken down by bacteria in the mouth producing acids that attack tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Foods That Fight Plaque
Fighting plaque is a job that we all need to do, twice a day, standing at our sinks! Brushing your teeth regularly with a high-quality toothbrush and toothpaste (or toothpaste tab) that contains fluoride.
To ensure you are always in the best position to keep your teeth healthy, look after your dental equipment and change your toothbrush regularly.
While good dental hygiene is vital, there are some foods that can actually help to fight the plaque!
Fruits and Vegetables
Vitamins C and D are powerful antioxidants that protect the teeth from damage by reactive oxygen species.
Flesh and vegetables are rich in these two vitamins, the best sources being citrus fruits such as oranges and red apples, dark green vegetables that are rich in lutein such as spinach and kale, along with apples and pears.
Carrots have loads of vitamin A which strengthens the dentin layer of tooth enamel by strengthening the connective tissue that binds it together.
Carrots also contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body.
Dairy Products, Especially Cheese
Vitamin D is primarily added to dairy products because of its ability to strengthen tooth enamel and improve dental health.
Cheese is a great source of vitamin D and calcium, obtainable from hard cheeses such as cheddar or parmesan.
Protein is another food group that can strengthen tooth enamel.
The plaque will attack tooth enamel if the levels of acid are too high in the mouth, and the quickest way to lower these levels is to consume a diet rich in protein which will help to build vital new tissue that helps repair teeth and gum damage.
Oily Fish Such as Salmon, Mackerel, and Sardines
Oily fish is rich in vitamin D, an essential nutrient for strong teeth.
It also contains a fatty acid called EPA which has been shown to protect against periodontal disease and reduce the inflammatory response, which is important when fighting gum disease.
Sugar-free Chewing Gum
Chewing sugar-free gum after eating helps clean the plaque off your teeth. Studies have shown that regular chewing gum consumers have less plaque on their teeth than those who don’t chew gum at all.
Hopefully, these tips will help maintain your beautiful smile but remember that they are just guidelines; it’s also important to be aware of everything you consume in your diet.