Good oral hygiene might be the most effective way to look after teeth, but a growing body of evidence indicates select foods also work to maintain and even improve your teeth health.

Just as certain foods affect the look of your skin, soothe the stomach and boost the immune system, these “functional foods” can also work to reduce plaque and tooth decay.

Here’s an insight into what to add to your plate in the interests of your teeth.

Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are considered a go-to food when it comes to general health, but they also have amazing health properties for your teeth and gums.

Not only does chewing leafy greens prompt saliva production that flushes out food particles, their high Vitamin C content boosts the production of red blood cells and reduces inflammation.

Meanwhile, the calcium contained in leafy greens can help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy.

Crunchy fruit and veg

You know what they say about an apple a day – well the philosophy applies right across the crunchy fruit and veggie range. These foods help scrape away food residue, plaque and bacteria. They’re also high in fibre which ramps up that saliva production, and saliva protects your teeth against bacteria.

Onions

The ultimate neutraliser, onions help restore the pH balance in the mouth. They also have some lovely microbial properties that get in and target the bacteria that causes cavities and plaque.

Dairy

Dairy foods like cheese, yoghurt and milk have long been known for their calcium benefits, and this too affects the health of the mouth. It’s believed the calcium contained in dairy can help strengthen tooth enamel.

Meanwhile, in 2013 the American Academy of General Dentistry reported that eating cheese, milk or yoghurt raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay.

Tea

Black or green tea has been found to reduce the build-up of bacteria that leads to plaque and bad breath.

In a study by the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC), researcher Dr Christine D Wu noted people who rinsed their mouths with black tea for one minute, 10 times a day, had less plaque build-up on their teeth than people who rinsed their mouths with water. What’s more, the size and stickiness of their plaque was reduced.

Raisins

Rich in phytochemicals, raisins are a great alternative to artificially sweetened food. Phytochemicals are believed to kill cavity-causing plaque bacteria. Some compounds in raisins also affect the growth of bacteria associated with gum disease, Dr Wu found.

Cranberries

In a similar vein, cranberries have also been shown to be beneficial when it comes to teeth health. Cranberries feature microbials which inhibit bacteria growth and plaque formation.

Sequence matters

Meanwhile, further research by Dr Wu and the team at UIC indicates the sequence in which you consume foods can also impact the health of your teeth.

For example, if you consume a sugary treat and then drink a glass of milk, the milk can restore the pH balance in the mouth, lowering the level of acid produced by bacteria.

“This food sequence is very important,” Dr Wu said. “It’s a very innovative idea to reduce the risk of oral disease and promote oral health.”

About Bare Brush

Bare Brush offers a natural approach to oral health care using the carefully sourced elements of the Salvadora Persica tree.

Utilised globally for centuries, the Salvadora Persica tree features a host of proven properties that are beneficial to oral health. These include antibacterial elements and natural tooth whitening.

Our toothbrushes incorporate bristles from this tree, while our companion toothpaste uses extracted ingredients.

You can learn more about the Salvadora Persica tree here or view our product range for further insight.