If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know the basics of what not to do if you want to keep a healthy smile (Do we really have to give the ‘don’t smoke’ lecture again? We didn’t think so.)
In this article, we thought we’d take a different, more positive approach. Instead of telling you what not to do, we’re going to tell you the great things you can do!
Today’s edition of positive steps toward a better smile centers around one of our favorite topics: food!
In this article, we’re going to give you five types of food that are GREAT for your teeth. But, wait, there’s more! Remember those amazing black influencers we told you about a few weeks back? Well, many of them just happen to be incredible chefs. So, throughout this article, we’re going to link you to some of the delicious recipes they’ve shared that incorporate these smile-friendly foods.
Show your support for a healthy smile AND a healthy community.
THE FOOD: Fibrous food of any kind. So, what are these fiber-friendly foods? Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, kale, or cabbage. It could also mean grains and seeds like chia seeds, bran, barley and popcorn. It could even mean fruits such as avocados, bananas, pears and everyone’s favorite flatulence-fostering fruit: beans.
WHY IT’S GOOD: It all comes down to one thing: saliva. The more fibrous the food, the more chewing it takes to process. The more chewing you do, the more saliva you produce. Saliva, along with a healthy oral care regimen, is what bolsters your natural defenses against harmful agents. Saliva not only helps remove plaque, leftover food particles, and nasty bacteria, but it helps neutralize acids and enzymes from food that can wear down your enamel. Additionally, saliva actually contains calcium and phosphate, so it prevents damage AND helps restore minerals.
THE RECIPE: Ok, this isn’t so much a recipe as recipes. Influencer @porshialashae shared in her blog “With Love on Top” all of these amazing recipes she found that incorporate fiber-rich chia seeds! Chocolate pudding, raspberry coconut pudding pops, smoothies...she knows how to appeal to the sweet tooth in you while keepin’ it healthy. Check out her recommended recipes here.
THE FOOD: Anything with calcium. Cheese. Yogurt. Milk. If you’re lactose-free or vegan, never fear! There are plenty of other non-dairy calcium-rich foods like tofu, soybeans, oatmilk, tahini, and sesame seeds.
WHY IT’S GOOD: While enamel cannot be rebuilt after it is destroyed, that doesn’t mean that you can’t restore strength to weakened enamel through the remineralization process. When you consume products that are high in calcium, these minerals bind to weak points in your teeth, fortifying them against erosion. Increased calcium consumption is especially important in women who are pregnant, where hypocalcemia is common and, as an unfortunate one-two punch, gastric acid levels are higher from morning sickness.
THE RECIPE: The influencer @plantbasedre sported this wonderful recipe for Tofu and Nut Stir Fry and Jackfruit Curry. Not only does it have the dairy-free calcium substitute tofu, but it is also a fiber-rich jackpot with quinoa, jackfruit, beans, plantains, chickpeas and avocado! Check out the recipe here.
THE FOOD: Green tea.
WHY IT’S GOOD: Green tea contains polyphenols that kill and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Not only that, green tea has also been shown to neutralize acid in the mouth, improve gum health, reduce cavities and tooth loss, and even slow the progression of oral cancer. Basically, green tea is a superpowered drink for your mouth. Not a big fan of green tea? No worries! Black tea also contains polyphenols that helps stem bacterial growth (but green tea is still the best!).
THE RECIPE: Our RADIUS partner @theveganistasista featured on her Instagram page a delicious-looking matcha green tea latte along with all of the tools to make it. Who said tea had to be boring? Liven up your tea AND your teeth! See it here.
Want to try a variety of healthy teas? Blogger @oldworldnew compiled a great list of black-owned tea companies to check out here.
THE FOOD: Wild Salmon (or really any fatty fish!)
WHY IT’S GOOD: The omega-3s and the vitamin D! Fatty fish contains these elements that help your body absorb calcium. So, basically, pair this fish with some calcium-rich eats and nothin’ is wearing your enamel down!
THE RECIPE: Ok, so the list of original bloggers had vegan cooks, so salmon was out. However, we found another incredible black influencer chef @fitmencook who made this red curry salmon with peanut butter that looks to die for. The best part? It only takes 25 minutes to make. That’s what we’re talking about: quick, easy, healthy. Check out the recipe here.
THE FOOD: Raw eats. Carrots, radishes, celery, apples, etc. The more the crunch, the more the health punch!
WHY IT’S GOOD: The crunchier the food, the more the saliva. Not only that, but the tougher food helps to clean the plaque from your teeth like a natural chewing stick. It’s basically a secondary toothbrush. Not only that but, as is the case of carrots, this raw food is high in keratin which helps fight plaque, Vitamin A which helps strengthen enamel, and Vitamin C which helps protect against tooth loss and gingivitis.
RECIPE: You thought going on a raw food diet meant just munching on some carrots and being done with it? Oh no. There can be so much more to it than that. Check out this amazing Raw Vegan Carrot Cake made by influencer @shinewithplants for her little girl’s 3rd birthday!
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbgVYTLLZCQ
Want to original recipe? Check it out here.
THE FOOD: Sugarless gum.
WHY IT’S GOOD: Ok, ok, we know this is not really a food (unless you swallow it...don’t swallow it), but it does help you toward a brighter smile. How? Well, sugarless gum stimulates saliva production, which helps remove ‘leftovers’ from your mouth and also helps to neutralize decay-causing acids. As a bonus, no sugar = not a risk for cavities.
THE RECIPE: Ok, there’s no recipe for this one, but we should say that there’s an added bonus of sugarless gum for all you moms-to-be out there. Pregnancy is notoriously linked with a pretty precarious oral health state and chewing sugarless gum helps to quell some of that morning sickness AND neutralize harmful gastric acid after tossing your cookies. So, those who are pregnant and reading this who aren’t able to keep much down today, this sugarless gum ‘recipe’ is for you.
We hope you enjoyed this list of tooth-approved foods and recipes! Now, time for lunch!