The Best Foods for Healthy Teeth
Many foods today are capable of harming your teeth. The presence of cavities often leads the dentist to let you know which foods to avoid. While most people are aware of this possibility, not many know which foods will strengthen your teeth. One group of foods to look for is foods that are good sources of calcium.
If you want healthy teeth, it is necessary to have a regular intake of calcium. Calcium is the primary ingredient in the enamel on your teeth, which is the hard part of the tooth that you see. Ensuring that you get enough calcium (1,000 to 2,000 mg daily) to protect your teeth will help you to keep your teeth longer.
Calcium is what makes bones and teeth strong – and hard. When there is a calcium deficiency, it is called osteoporosis, and it will weaken your bones. This can be a problem because it can also weaken the jawbone, which can lead to tooth loss. Women who have osteoporosis are three times more likely to lose their teeth than are women without it. A deficiency in calcium can lead to white spots forming on the teeth.
When you do not get enough calcium, your body takes it from your bones. This is why they become weaker. It is also why your body and teeth need a constant supply to ensure the right calcium levels – 700 milligrams per day for adolescents, 1,300 mg for teens, 1,000 mg per day for men and women aged 19 – 70, and women who are 51 and older need 1,200 mg per day.
In addition to calcium, you also need vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is what enables you to absorb calcium and it boosts bone mineral density. If you have low amounts of vitamin D, your body will not replace calcium into your bones or teeth.
Dairy Sources of Calcium
When most people think of calcium-rich foods, they will naturally think of dairy products first. The calcium in dairy products is more easily absorbed into your body than are plant-based sources. Here are some foods that contain calcium:
- Milk – Regular cow’s milk will have about 250 mg per cup.
- Cheese – Parmesan cheese has the most calcium per ounce (33% RDI). Cheese also contains protein.
- Cottage cheese – A half cup of cottage cheese will give you about 250 mg.
- Yogurt – Low-fat yogurt tends to have higher levels of calcium than regular yogurt, which will give you 45% RDI in one cup. Yogurt with fruit will give you about 169 mg.
- Ice cream – One-half cup will supply you with about 125 mg.
Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium
Some people cannot digest dairy products without problems. You can still make up the required daily calcium amounts by eating some non-dairy foods high in calcium that include:
- Seeds – Especially poppy seeds, and they also contain proteins and some healthy fats. Roasted sesame seeds will provide you with 280 mg per ounce.
- Orange juice with calcium added – Besides getting the necessary vitamin C, some orange juices can give you the daily amount plus in a single cup – as much as 1514 mg. Children do not need as much, so reduce it accordingly. Also, be aware that orange juice and other fruit juices also contain a lot of sugar and acid, so be sure to rinse your mouth out afterward to help protect your teeth.
- Canned Fish with bones – If you eat canned fish with the bones, such as sardines, it will give you as much as 569 mg per cup. Salmon offers about half that much.
- Leafy greens – These calcium-rich vegetables provide an excellent amount of calcium. Collard greens will give you about 350 mg per cup, and spinach has about 250 mg per cup.
- Beans – Many types of beans pack a lot of calcium. White beans will provide you with 485 mg and kidney beans will give you 359 mg of calcium. Beans can be eaten a lot of different ways, including in soups and salads.
- Hot cereal (calcium-fortified) – One cup will supply you with about 150 mg.
- Tofu – This product has the advantage of taking on the flavor of whatever it is in, enabling you to use it in a lot of foods such as soups, stews, etc. A half cup will give you about 250 mg of calcium.
If you are considering taking supplements for your calcium requirements, the Cleveland Clinic has some recommendations. Limit the amount you take in a supplement to 600 mg per day. You should also avoid taking them at the same time as an iron supplement.
Keeping your healthy teeth means you need to have a daily intake of the right amount of calcium and vitamin D. In addition to the right sources of calcium, you need to reduce your sugar intake and see a dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleaning.