Top 7 Best and Worst Health Foods for Your Teeth

Wednesday Jul 3, 2013 | BY |
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Peach Bite
We all know that candy bars and sugary soda is bad for teeth, but what about all those foods that are touted as having great benefits for our health?

Some foods are healthy, some foods are unhealthy.

Some foods are great for your teeth, and others not so great.

Now, the two categories don’t always merge perfectly. Some foods can be great for health, but have some negative impact on dental health, if we’re not careful. And some foods can be great for teeth but still controversial in health circles.

Let’s cover those health foods that you’re likely to find at your produce or health food store that are either good or bad for your teeth.

Remember it’s often a question of context: the right amount of some food can be great, while too much can have other negative impacts.

7 Health Foods That Are Great for Your Teeth

1) Water

We don’t think of water as a food, and less as a substance that fights cavities. But staying hydrated is important to keep your teeth healthy. Bacteria proliferate and form plague more readily when the flow of saliva dries up. That’s one reason that, during the night, we are more prone to cavities. Water washes away acidity and sugar residues left by food. Swish water in your mouth often, and stay hydrated throughout the day!

2) Apples

Some apples are very acidic, which can be bad for your teeth. But if you get an apple that is fairly neutral, with just enough acidity to give it good taste, it can be a tremendous food to fight off cavities. Apples are so fibrous that they help wash away stains left by other foods, and their high water content keeps your saliva flowing. Although just chewing apples isn’t enough to keep your teeth in perfect health, it can help counteract the effect of eating drier foods, like dried fruit or crackers.

3) Nuts

Some proponents of the raw vegan diet have claimed that nuts are bad for teeth because they stick to teeth and are food for the bacteria. However, all the clinical research that’s been done shows the exact opposite. Nuts are low in sugar, and because of their polyunsaturated fat content, they may help prevent gum disease. Many nuts contain decent amounts of calcium and phosphorus, which can help strengthen your teeth. The only thing that can be bad about nuts is trying to open a shelled one with your teeth!

4) Celery

Celery is a green, but one that lacks the teeth-staining pigments found in more colorful greens, like spinach. Celery is loaded with water, which again, helps with saliva flow. The fiber in celery also cleans your teeth naturally.

5) Cheese

There’s controversy around cheese, but one thing is for sure: it’s a friend for your teeth. My dentist once gave me the advice of eating a small piece of cheese after a meal. It soaks up acidity and restores the natural PH of the mouth to an alkaline state. Cheese also has other cavity-fighting properties. For some reason, chewing cheese apparently reduces the amount of cariogenic bacteria in the mouth. Cheese is extremely high in calcium and phosphorus, which are critical for healthy teeth. Now, most Americans don’t need to start eating more cheese. What I’m talking about here is the European cheese habit of having a small piece of cheese as a desert, after a meal. I personally stay clear from cheese most of the time, but I will occasionally eat a piece of cheese after a meal for taste, and to restore alkalinity to my mouth (and of course because it tastes awesome!).

6) Salmon

Wild salmon is loaded with vitamin D, which can be critical if you don’t take a supplement. It will help your body assimilate the calcium it needs. Also, a little extra protein helps balance out the sugar in a mainly raw or vegan diet. I noticed that once I introduced a little animal protein in my diet, mainly with wild sustainable fish, my teeth got healthier.

7) Xylitol

Xylitol is a type of sugar that’s actually good for your teeth (technically a nonfermentable sugar alcohol, and cannot be used by the body as an energy source). It’s found in minute quantities in some natural foods, but is made artificially for products that contain it. It’s safe and some studies have found it effective in preventing cavities. You can now find gums sweetened by xylitol at your health food store. Chew them instead of regular gum, especially when you don’t have time to brush your teeth after a meal on the go.

The 7 Top Worst Health Foods for Your Teeth

1) Dried Fruits

This one is obvious. Dried fruits are full of sugar, and stick to your teeth. You can enjoy some, but try to include dried fruit with watery and fibrous foods, like apples. Or brush your teeth immediately after eating some!

2) Blueberries

Although blueberries are great for health, and are not particularly cariogenic, they have a propensity to stain your teeth. If you eat a lot of blueberries, make sure you also use a toothpaste that contains an abrasive element, like calcium carbonate, to wash away those stains.

3) Fruit Juice

Fruit juice, even when natural and organic, is horrible for your teeth. It’s loaded with (natural) sugar, there’s no fiber, and it’s often very acidic. To counteract some of those problems, make sure you keep a glass of water handy if you drink fruit juice, to swish some in your mouth and wash away some of that acid and sugar.

4) Wine

We know that red wine, because of its pigments, can stain the teeth. But here I want to talk about alcohol in general. Alcohol is generally bad for teeth because it causes saliva production to decrease. As we’ve seen, a healthy saliva flow is very important for healthy teeth. In higher and more regular amounts, alcohol can also cause gum disease because it irritates the tissues of the mouth. A glass of wine or a beer or two is not likely to ruin your teeth, if you’re careful. Just make sure you keep drinking water!

5) Citrus

People I’ve seen on healthy diets with the worst teeth tend to eat a lot of citrus, especially oranges. The high acidity content of those fruits, combined with the sugar, can spell dental disaster if you’re not careful. People who eat a regular load of citrus fruit, along with acidic fruits like pineapple, will often erode a lot of their enamel. Teeth will have a shiny, glossy surface from the constant acid bath they take. Sucking on lemon or limes is probably the worst thing you can do, in that regard. Reduce your consumption of acidic fruits to a minimum, and swish water in your mouth when you eat them, to wash away the acids. Note that neutral fruits, like melons, do not cause these problems.

6) Dry, Starchy Foods

Starchy foods are generally not acidic, but they do turn into sugar because of the presence of amylase in the mouth, an enzyme we produce in our saliva that breaks down starch into sugar. When dried pieces of crackers get stuck on the teeth, it’s essentially a party for the bacteria, and everyone’s invited! Make sure you brush your teeth after eating those foods. Just rinsing your mouth with water is not enough.

7) Coffee

Coffee, even when fair-trade and organic, does stain teeth. Just use a toothpaste once a day that contains calcium carbonate (they all do usually), and those stains should not get too crazy. The worst part about coffee is that people generally add sugar and sweeteners to it, which turns it into a bacteria-feeding, cavity-causing drink. Also, caffeine interferes with natural saliva production, and can lead to a dry mouth after drinking coffee. Keep that saliva flow going by chewing xilitol gum and drinking water throughout the day!

Last Comments From Kevin Gianni

Now that we’re covering Dental Health topics this week, I wanted to remind you about the program we are promoting this week and the Renegade Health special that accompanies it.

It’s on sale for one more day.

The program is called “How To Heal & Prevent Dental Disasters In 21 Days Or Less” and is published by our friend Frederic Patenaude. It includes the book “Money By the Mouthful” By Dr. Nara. This program has been created by OraMedia and is the only course I have discovered that tells you exactly how to avoid dental problems for the rest of your life.  

It’s normally $37 or so, but he’s going to offer all Renegade Health readers a $17.05 discount, so you can get it for just under $20 — at $19.95.

If you want to get this program all you have to do is head on over to this site and use this coupon code: RENEGADE

Here’s the site…

http://www.renegadehealth.com/helpmymouth

NOTE: Make sure to use the coupon, which expires in about a day.

Question of the day: what have you found to be the best and worst foods for your teeth?

* * *


SOURCES:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/news/20101026/fatty-fish-may-prevent-gum-disease

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1877906

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/23/1061529376403.html

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

21 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Brett says:

    According to the best expert in the subject ever, Weston A Price, high vitamin butter oil mixed with cod liver oil is the best thing for your teeth. Of course he studied diet and teeth most all of his life and he traveled all over the world seeing what worked and didn’t work. His background is second to none in this area.

  2. Jane Guyette says:

    Finally, information about how to care for your teeth is being covered. The best foods for my teeth that I have noticed are high fiber veggies. The worst for my teeth is Apple Cider Vinegar. When I first started my healthy journey, every teacher raved about adding it to your water. Nobody told me about the dental dangers in doing it daily. I learned the hard way. It’s the first thing I teach to my clients.

    • Kuru says:

      Jane, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!! Apple Cider Vinegar is GOOD, just be sure to rinse or brush after. Same with lemon water, another great health practice.

    • Straight apple cider vinegar will react directly with enamel, but once added to water, it does not have the same effect. Cider vinegar added to water reacts chemically; it immediately forms hydronium ion, thus saving tooth enamel. You should be okay with cider vinegar in water.

      Gabriala
      ToothSoap.com

  3. Dee says:

    What about food that is good for your gums and bad for your gums?

  4. Ira Edwards says:

    All you need to know for healthy teeth was published in 1939, NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL DEGENERATION, by Dr, Weston A. Price, director of the ADA research facility. Simply, nutrient dense natural foods including animal fats. Vegetarians go through such stress trying to make a bad diet healthy, when it is so much easier to eat what our great grandparents ate.
    Two more excellent books:

  5. Ira Edwards says:

    (Continue, after hitting the wrong key) ROOT CANAL COVER-UP by By George Meinig, a founder of the Association of Root Canal Specialists. Who could be better qualified? And
    CURE TOOTH DECAY

  6. Ira Edwards says:

    (again) CURE TOOTH DECAY Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition, by Ramiel Nagel. When Ramiel’s little girl had decaying teeth, he studied such sources as Price and Meinig, and put together the very best book on this topic, and saved the child’s teeth.
    An example from Dr. Price: In New Zealand, people eating their traditional foods had about one cavity per 2000 teeth. The same people buying food from the commercial store had decay in half their teeth.
    Ira Edwards, author of HONEST NUTRITION, and orthomolecular textbook.

  7. Lu says:

    Yes, those lists make sense. I also feel that healthy animal fats (raw organic butter, ghee, cheese…) and mineral rich vegetables are important in preventing cavities. The research of W. A. Price is convincing. The only thing I don’t understand about it is that he “didn’t find any healthy vegetarians”. Or at least any vegetarians with healthy teeth. Did he study people in India who followed ancient ayurvedic way of eating? This knowledge is more than 5000 years old.

    I know some people who follow ayurvedic vegetarian diet and have perfect teeth. Not just healthy but gorgeous too! White and shiny. They also have some great tooth hygiene secrets, like neem sticks used as anatural toothbrush, and some time tested herbal tooth powders (not toothpaste) that, in my experience, work great. A cheap version of it is Vicco toothpowder but better ones are available from Dr. Arenander’s Anti Aging company and from Maharishi Ayurveda (expensive but great). Perhaps one of the best ayurvedic tooth/gum repair secrets is daily oil pulling with sesame oil. The oil needs to be heated up to 220F/100C before use. When it cooles down return into the original bottle and keep in the bathroom for daily use. About 1 Tbs of oil should be warmed up before each use (just so it feels warm (not hot) in the mouth. Add 2-3 drops of tea tree or clove essential oil. Then keep in the mouth for 15-20 minutes and swish around as much as possible. This is done before breakfast, after brushing your teeth in the morning. If the teeth/gums are really bad, it can also be repeated before going to bed.

    Of course, not all Indians I know have good teeth but not all of them eat an ayurvedic diet or have a good dental hygiene. As Kevin and Frederic said, BOTH of these matter. Indian people eat more and more like the westerners – processed, packaged and nutrient poor food. India is also the home of some most spectacular desserts (SUGAR!) so those who indulge in it will have to face the consequences. Traditional millenia-old Ayurvedic diet includes lots of freshly made dairy products (milk, buttermilk/lassi, cream, yogurt, fermented butter…) plus they cook their food with ghee (clarified butter – basically concentrated butterfat without any protein and water left). Ghee is prized as a “Divine food” in ayurveda. It supports the building of all bodily tissues and promotes vitality and longevity. Then there are healthy vegetables, coconuts, sesame seeds (great for teeth), careful food combinig techniques and diets suited for individual body types. Also, ayurveda emphasizes the importance of getting enough sunlight on your skin early in the morning (vit D) and has some incredible mineral supplements (called bhasmas) that are far more refined than anything known to western science. One substance called shilajit (mineral resin from Himalajas) is a potent rejuvenating substance that has nearly miraculous propertis when properly combined with herbs.

    Anyway, thank you all for this great discussion and lots of great information being shared. I am just adding my 2 cents hoping it may add to the whole picture :-). Blessings, Lu

    • Ira Edwards says:

      Yes. some vegetarians have good teeth. Weston Price was a vegetarian, I have heard. Perhaps, if he had gone to India, he would have found healthy vegetarians. Ayurvedic traditions are good. To me, it seems so much simpler and stress-free to just eat natural, nutrient-dense whole foods.
      Another factor may be vitamin K2, which is scarce, supplied by fermented foods, and important for arteries, bones and teeth. Another excellent book: VITAMIN K2 AND THE CALCIUM PARADOX, by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Blueu.
      She leaves some questions unanswered where research is lacking, but there is much to learn.

  8. Joanne says:

    I read that lemons turn alkaline in your mouth. I also read that they turn water alkaline when added to it. Is this true?

  9. Rebecca Cody says:

    In my nutrition training, based on Weston A Price’s work, I was taught that he preferred vegetarianism, but when he studied all those groups of healthy people on traditional diets he discovered none were vegetarian.

    I’ve wondered about why he didn’t make it to India, where I think he would have found healthy vegetarians. But then I realized the probable reason was that World War II began and he could no longer safely travel. Remember, they traveled by ship to these far-flung places in those days (1930s) and the seas became dangerous. I know this because a friend of mine grew up in England during that period. Her father was an engineer in sugar refining plants. He was in India when the war broke out and was unable to return to England until it ended.

    A friend who grew up in India told me about her vegetarian grandfather who lived in perfect health, his mind keen, until he died at 98.

  10. Liz says:

    I am curious about these books that you are currently selling – I have read parts of Cure Tooth Decay and I know they really tout a non vegetarian diet. I am not willing to eat animal meat, but I am willing to use animal products if that is necessary. Do these books outline a good diet for vegetarians?

    • Ira Edwards says:

      Lierre Keith experienced much and studied more than anyone else I know about, concerning vegetarian health. You will likely find your answers in her book THE VEGETARIAN MYTHS. Christ Masterjohn also has an interesting story about tooth problems in his vegetarian years.
      To my previous comments, add this. Dry mouth is a major cause of decay. Dry mouth is a side effect of various drugs, especially meth. Normally, teeth are constantly bathed in slightly alkaline saliva. Acid, as in lemons, is ok if quickly rinsed. It is standing acid, not a little acid that passes by that causes the problem. A child with Kool-Aid in a bottle with nipple quickly destroys a child’s teeth, because the sweet acid is there for a prolonged period.

  11. Laura says:

    This article is OK I guess. Very basic and really misses what I think is the mark of taking care of your teeth. It’s working on the assumption that your teeth are influenced but what is stuck on the outside of them. Perhaps they are if your teeth are already very weak and unhealthy. Strong healthy teeth are affected very little by what is on their outside shell And I disagree with the whole constant tooth brushing with abrasives thing. Brush your teeth once maybe twice if you eat something sticky with a good quality brush and WATER. That’s it. And don’t eat crappy foods. You know what they are. Sugar and carbs and processed food. Include some ethically raised animal protein in your diet. Not too much. Raw milk products. Animals raised by someone you know. (Don’t know anyone who raises animals? Meet some! They are good people.) Eat naturally fermented foods. And never, ever ever use commercial toothpaste again ever in your life. Or that Vicco junk (it has SLS) or any of it really. Those products are so harmful I cannot find the words to express it. I have brushed my teeth with water 90% of the time since I was about 11. I am now 42 and have NO CAVITIES. I used to get checkups at the regular dentist and he would marvel at my tooth and gum health. I do not floss either because it damages the gum tissue and opens it up to bad bacteria. I firmly believe it is because I have allowed the natural good bacteria in my mouth to thrive and prevent the bad bacteria from growing. Toothpastes of any kind ruin this healthy bio community and cause cavities. Everyone else in my family has had some tooth issues, cavities etc. So it’s not just good genes. And do not chew gum at all, not even that xylitol crap. Gum is bad for your teeth and your jaws too. I have not done an expensive study to learn this. Some things a person just knows.

    • Ira Edwards says:

      Laura indirectly called attention to what your dentist won’t tell you; that your teeth are nourished from the inside, and what is in the mouth matters less than what the blood stream brings to the root to be transported through microtubules out to the surface. Most of us are short in magnesium and vitamins D and K2.

  12. Thanks for post this valuable article. We must be aware about these points.

  13. Niko says:

    i have done some interviews with people. look at my one blog teethz.wordpress.com
    ask ramiel nagel. he has some great information. ask david wolfe. ask terra warner and her stuff, she did a tooth summit. ask the german health practicinor. maria kageaki. she has done a great talk and practice with people who have teeth issues. Campton Rom from Ascended health. There is so much great REAL information out there. make your own research.

    i have problems to respond to this article. i personally find it biasing and astry. if i use this words corectly. i find. there is a good itenntion from frederic. on the otherside. promoting something as worst and best, what isnst that clear if you look at the sources. its biasing. just google up frederic findingd and you will also be the same opinion that frederic cant be as sure as he promotes himself.

    i hope i express myself fairly. i try to keep calm and relax.

    i just wish that people are treated honestly. and with respect.

    there is lot of great knowledge on teeth healing out there. frederic has done lot of good thing in the health world. i once bought his programm on teeth and was disapointed.

    my experiences were that he share his own experiences, what i feeled he promoted this. i find this a bit problematic in this kind of marketing, that people make a big promotion and then only give something very little. its not always the case. especially if people use their own design, write their own article. but in frederics dental article and programm. the one i purchased it was that it was just an text from dr. nara. and maybe it was as well available onine for free. so far i remeber it was a digital copy of dr. naras book.

    people need to know what they get. and marketing should be honest on what it will give to people. ITs fair to have a 30day money back garantee. as well its fair to be just as honest as possible. something DanMcdonald tries to be. i find also Terra Warner is realy fair with what she promotes and gives. This is only from my own experiences. i wouldnt by more at frederics, cause i have the feeling hes doing so much marketing, what is realy truth and what is tricks and manipulation.

    I just feel more faith in other programm and i find other marketing ways more honest and loveful and kind. more humane and i think lot of people call david wolfes marketing money focus. i find for what oyu get, the information he give and the owrk he makes, his marketing is honest and fair. its totally fair to take money for a programm which is proffesional filmed and made and pressed on DVD. But i think we need to be honest and truthful when marketing them.

  14. Dorah says:

    Dear Frederic,

    Thank you for this valuable information. But what about lemon?

    I have been taking a lot of lemon, in form of juice and just as a fruit. But lemon has ruined my teeth right from the gum !!!! I think you should say something about lemon and teeth.
    Thank you.

    Dorah

  15. Ira Edwards says:

    Not enough editing: Dr. Kate’s name is Bleue, not Blueu.
    Book title: THE VEGETARIAN MYTH not myths.

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