A: Foods rich in calcium ensure not only strong bones but also healthy teeth. Foods containing polyphenols and probiotics can also help encourage a healthy mouth. Some healthy foods are:
• Milk. The sugar in milk is lactose, which is the least damaging to teeth. However, it can be a hazardous when putting a child to bed with a bottle of milk. Baby bottle tooth decay can cause extensive damage. Studies have shown that when cavity-causing foods are eaten along with milk, the milk can actually help protect teeth from damage.
• Green tea. Certain teas contain polyphenols which help prevent plaque. Sip carefully, as teas can be acidic which can harm your teeth.
• Cheese. Look for cheeses with a bacterial element, such as Brie, Camembert, Dutch Edam, or blue cheese. Cheese makes the mouth nonacidic and raises calcium levels.
• Fruits and vegetables. Some contain polyphenols, which stimulate saliva flow. Saliva flow protects teeth from exposure to acid. Because fruits are acidic and contain sugars, be sure to follow up with good dental hygiene after eating.
• Yogurt. The probiotics and proteins promote a healthy mouth by decreasing the bad bacteria.
• Raisins. High in fiber, polyphenols, and oleanolic acid (antibacterial against certain plaque bacteria).
Information provided by Dr. Christopher W. Blanchard, Blanchard Family Dentistry, 820 West Summit St., 462-4474.