(Guest post authored by Dr. Toni.)
Did you know that your smile is one of the first things people notice when they first meet you? Studies have shown that a smile is more attractive than a face full of makeup.
One of the most common and preventable problems that will ruin a beautiful smile is cavities. Cavities can be small and inconspicuous or can be noticeably large that someone with no dental knowledge can tell is not suppose to be there.Did you know that certain foods increase your risk of getting a cavity versus others?
Everyday your mouth forms plaque. Within the the plaque is loads of bacteria. As you eat throughout the day, the bacteria feed off of the foods that you eat. As a result, the bacteria produce an acid by product which demineralizes teeth and over time, forms cavities. This is why it is so important to brush daily. When plaque is removed daily, it reduces the chance of developing a cavity.
It is important not to feed that bacteria lots of foods that they like. The bacteria love carbs and sugars. Foods loaded with carbs and sugars feed that bacteria that trigger process of producing the acid that breaks down the tooth structure and causes cavities.
Foods high in fiber and protein are best for your teeth and also contribute to your overall health. Typically foods high in protein have other minerals like calcium and phosphorus which are critical in protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel.
High Protein Foods that Protect & Rebuild Tooth Enamel
Need some suggestions on foods high in protein to incorporate in your diet or meal planning? I’ve got you covered with a few suggestions.
Cheese is a great source of protein. A slice of cheddar cheese has 9g of protein in addition to vitamin A and B-12. Just be careful not to eat too much as cheese is high in fat and cholesterol.
All yogurts are great sources of calcium and vitamins. Many times there is added sugar in yogurts. Greek yogurt has less sugar and almost twice as much protein as regular yogurt.
Hard boiled eggs
One hard boiled egg has 6g of protein and many vitamins and minerals. This is another food that has a significant amount of cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation.
A can of tuna can have up to 25g of protein. It also has a good amount of vitamin A and B-12. Because of concerns with mercury, tuna fish is not recommended to be consumed daily.
Pistachios are a great snack that is actually seeds from a tree. Pistachios are packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs. You can also get 25g of protein from 1 cup.
Almonds are another great snack high in fiber and potassium. One cup of almonds has 20g of protein, in addition to other vitamins and minerals.
Typically made with chickpeas, hummus is a popular snack or side dish and packed with minerals like magnesium. One cup of hummus has 19g of protein.
Edamame is popular in East Asian cuisine that is immature soybeans typically boiled or steamed. Not only does it have 19g of protein in one cup, but it also has 8g of fiber.
Protein shake (with whey protein powder)
A protein shake is an easy way to get anywhere from 19 to 25g of protein. You can simply add whey protein powder to water or other drinks to get an instant boost of protein.
Other Good Food Choices
Foods high in fiber not only help with digestive health and make you feel fuller, they also help stimulate saliva. This in turn helps to wash away food particles from your teeth and help neutralize acidic foods you may have eaten.
Lentils are a great addition to a salad because they are packed with fiber. There is 1.1g of fiber per tablespoon.
Black beans are a great addition to soups salads and other dishes. Black beans are a great source of vitamins and minerals and have 39g fiber in one cup!
LIma beans, also known as butter beans or Madagascar beans are a great source of minerals that your body needs replenished. In addition to having 15g of protein in one cup, there is 13g of fiber.
Broccoli is a great super vegetable that is packed with nutrition, including vitamin c, potassium and fiber. There is 2.4g of fiber in one cup of chopped broccoli. You can rest assured that broccoli has almost no fat and great source of vitamins and minerals.
This delicious fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This fruit has been known to have many health benefits including fighting cancer and aiding in weight loss. You will find 8g of fiber in one cup.
Like raspberries, blackberries have antioxidants that protect the body from inflammation and cancer. This low calorie fruit has 8g of protein and only 62 calories in one cup!
Avocados are a nutrient dense food with vitamins and minerals. There is 10g of fiber in a cup of sliced avocado. Avocados have a reputation with being high in fat. Which is true. However, it has the “good fat” (monounsaturated fat) that is beneficial for heart health.
With 6g of fiber in a medium pear, this is a quick snack that can hold you over in between meals and also aid in digestion.
Whole wheat pasta
Whole wheat pasta is a better alternative to regular or white flour pasta, as whole wheat pasta has more vitamins and minerals. With almost 4g of fiber in cooked whole wheat pasta, it is definitely the better choice over regular pasta that has half of the fiber and more calories.
Oatmeal is an excellent way to start your morning versus cereal. Oatmeal has vitamins and minerals and 6g of fiber in 1 cup.
Before you reach for that candy bar at work …
Remember to incorporate snacks that are high in fiber and protein to protect your smile from cavities. This can be easy as substituting your regular yogurt for Greek Yogurt or have a pear instead of a candy bar. Doing this in conjunction with brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, you keep cavities at bay and smile with confidence. Don’t blush, smile! (You might also enjoy Dr. Toni’s post about tooth sensitivity.)
About the author: Dr. Toni-Ann Hylton Mayembe attended Florida A&M University before graduating from Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha. Dr. Toni is a Dentist at Marrietta Dental, serving patients in the Jacksonville, Florida and surrounding areas in a private practice setting. Please visit Dr. Toni’s website to learn more about her, and to read more of her informative articles.
Thank you, Dr. Toni, for sharing this good information on keeping our smiles healthy!