Everyone knows that regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist will help keep their smiles healthy and bright. But did you know that what you eat also has a direct impact on your oral health? When it comes to food and dental health most of us know what to avoid – we now to stay away from sugar and sugary foods and also foods that are highly acidic. However, there are some common foods that can help you keep your teeth in great shape, and they are also good for your overall health. As you plan your meals make sure to include the following:

Tea

You love your coffee but it may be time to ditch it in favour of tea. Research shows that drinking green or black tea several times a day can help avoid a host of dental problems – it will help prevent cavities, reduce plaque and eliminate bad breath. You should drink several cups of black or green tea a day if you want to maintain a healthy smile. You can also rinse your mouth with tea after meals.

Cheese

Some types of cheese are excellent for oral health. Research has shown that people who eat cheddar cheese tend to have lower acidity levels in their mouths than those who drank milk or ate yogurt. This is because cheddar cheese helps promote production of saliva which has many oral benefits. Note: this study only looked into cheddar cheese; other cheeses may not offer the same benefits.

Onions

True, onion breath can be a turn-off for many, but don’t dismiss raw onions just yet. Research has shown that people who eat raw onions on a regular basis tend to have lower incidence of chronic illness and they live for longer. In addition to that they have better oral health – raw onions have antibacterial compounds which act as natural cleansers for your teeth.

Yogurt

Yogurt is very good for your teeth – so long as you stick to unsweetened, natural brands. It contains calcium and casein which are both helpful in rebuilding damaged enamel. It can help prevent the development of cavities and reduces build-up of plaque. You should add natural, unsweetened yogurt to your breakfast and also eat it directly after meals.

Raisins

Raisins contain sugar, but not the kind that is harmful to your health or your teeth. Raisins don’t contain sucrose, which is the kind of sugar that leads to cavities. In addition to that raisins are rich in phytochemicals which kill the bacteria that causes plaque.

Crunchy snacks

Crunchy snacks such as apples and celery are a great way to promote production and flow of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps cleanse the mouth and get rid of bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Crunchy foods and vegetables also stimulate blood flow in the gums.

Meat, eggs and fish

You have heard time and time again that meat, eggs and fish should be included in a healthy diet but did you know that they are also good for your teeth? They contain calcium and phosphorus both of which are necessary for strong enamel. If you are a vegetarian you should substitute these foods with others that are rich in calcium and phosphorus.

Sugarless gum

Sugarless gum is one of the best ways to keep your breath fresh and prevent the development of cavities. It promotes the production of saliva which is a natural cleanser for your mouth. Chew a piece of sugar-free gum for a few minutes after every meal.

Lastly, make sure that you visit your dentist regularly – while these foods may help promote dental health they are no replacement for the expertise and knowledge of an experienced dental expert.