The new year is a perfect time to change up your diet with some tooth-friendly foods

Resolve to Improve your Dental HealthIt’s almost three weeks into the new year, and you have probably made some valiant efforts so far to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve joined a gym or you’re working on a new budget to curb extra spending. The Dentists on Pearl would love to encourage you to add one more resolution to your list: Take better care of your teeth.

If health and wellness are top priorities for you in 2014, then your teeth should certainly get some extra TLC. Throughout the year, we’ll cover a variety of ways to do just that. Up first, as you’re vowing to leave behind the heavy holiday foods and sweets, we’ll talk about some tooth-friendly foods and beverages:

Water – In addition to keeping you hydrated and offering a wealth of other health benefits, water can help combat the damaging effects of high-acid foods that can wear away tooth enamel. Rinsing with water after drinking coffee, tea or wine can also help mitigate stains. Finally, water helps wash away food particles and contributes to the production of saliva, one of your body’s natural defenses against tooth decay. Replace your daily soda or sports drink with a big glass of water, and your mouth will thank you.

Cheese and other dairy products – High in calcium, dairy foods help protect teeth and gums. In addition, a recent study published in General Dentistry shows that dairy foods may help prevent cavities by changing the mouth’s pH level and possibly by protecting the teeth from more acidic foods. Another recent study showed that drinking a glass of milk after eating sugary food helped reduce the levels of acid in the mouth.

Protein-rich foods – As recommended by the American Dental Association, foods like meats, milk and eggs contain phosphorous, another key tooth-protecting mineral. Foods like egg yolks, fatty fish and liver also contain Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium.

Crunchy foods – Carrots and apples, for example, take a bit of effort to chew. All that chewing can help scrape away plaque, and it also encourages saliva production, which is beneficial for fighting bacteria.

Fruits and vegetables – In addition to helping promote saliva production, fruits and vegetables contain vitamins that are important to tooth and gum health, including Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Vitamin C contributes to healthier gums, and Vitamin A is essential in the formation of tooth enamel.

Of course, after all that eating and drinking, don’t forget to brush and floss!