Healthy gums and teeth are an important part of your overall health, as well as a cosmetic concern. Everyone knows that proper brushing, flossing, and antimicrobial mouthwash are essential ways to promote oral health and prevent cavities and gum disease. But, as with every other aspect of your health, what you eat can also have significant effects on your dental health too. So, we’d like to offer some advice about foods for healthy teeth—that happen to be braces-friendly options, since so many of our readers have or will soon have braces.
Remember, there are candies and foods you need to avoid with braces. And you also have to be proactive about properly cleaning your braces to prevent buildup and associated complications. Beyond that, here are some foods for healthy teeth that you or your kid can eat with braces.
Braces-Friendly Foods for Healthy Teeth
- Dairy foods – You’ve probably heard that calcium and vitamin D are essential to strong, healthy teeth. Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of these nutrients. Harder cheese aren’t the most braces-friendly food, though; something like cottage cheese is a great option, and harder cheeses should be cut into small pieces to avoid biting, and chewed carefully with back teeth. Parfaits and smoothies are a delicious, nutritious way to incorporate yogurt into a braces-friendly healthy snack or light meal.
- Black and green teas – Dairy foods are usually the first category people think of when they think about foods for healthy teeth. Tea isn’t as likely to come to mind. But it contains polyphenols—a compound that acts as an antioxidant—which help prevent bacterial growth and plaque that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Just keep in mind that tea can discolor your teeth over time, so it’s a good idea to brush shortly after drinking it.
- Berries – Some types of berries are sometimes referred to as “superfoods” because they’re so nutrient-dense while also low in calories and things like sodium that should be eaten in limited amounts. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and other berries have some calcium, but also lots of other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that promote oral health in addition to overall health. They’re delicious too, and make a great snack or side, and you can add them to parfaits, smoothies, salads, and more!
- Leafy greens – Leafy greens like spinach and kale are an excellent plant-based source of calcium for strong, healthy teeth. Plus, they have plenty of additional vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and more that make them a highly beneficial part of your diet. They also supply folic acid, a type of B vitamin that may help prevent gum disease. If you have a hard time getting your child to eat leafy greens, you can add them to salads or chop them up to easily hide in marinara sauce and other foods your kid loves.