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Tooth brushing is a bath time ritual for most of us. In health education, we learnt that regular brushing of teeth helps to keep it clean and healthy by getting rid of food particles that cause tooth decay. As good students, we perform this ritual once or twice a day; for most of us, tooth brushing is the totality of our dental care. Once we’re done with it, everything about oral health is forgotten unless a tooth is aching or our gums are swollen. This has brought me to the realization that when it comes to oral health, most people live out the saying, ‘you don’t know the value of what you have until you lose it.’

You may not know it but a swab of your saliva can tell your doctor a lot about your state of health. Healthy teeth help you maintain that beautiful smile; it also helps you enjoy your food and a lifetime of peace. Interestingly, when it comes to the health of your teeth, you are what you eat. There are foods that promote oral health and foods that retard it. Our concern today is on foods that aid oral health and they include:


Raw carrots and other raw veggies that require a lot of chewing can strengthen your teeth. Chewing this vegetable disrupts bacteria-filled plaque and cleanses the teeth and gums. Eating raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Along with being rich in fiber, carrots are a great source of vitamin A.


Like most dairy products, milk is rich in calcium which is good for the teeth. Besides calcium, milk is rich in phosphorus and magnesium. It is also fortified with Vitamin D. The Vitamin D, Phosphorus and Magnesium in milk help your teeth absorb and use calcium more effectively. Skimmed milk gives you the same levels of calcium as whole milk. So weight watchers can gain the required nutrient even while on diet.


While most dental associations recommend the avoidance or reduced consumption of sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits like apple are sweet, but they’re also high in fiber and water. The fibrous texture of the fruit stimulates the gums while the action of eating apple produces saliva in the mouth. Saliva rinses away bacteria and food particles.


This essential ingredient adds a delicious flavor to food but it is also very good for your oral health. Garlic is loaded with antibacterial properties. It contains a component of garlic called allicin. This chemical is what gives you the dreaded ‘garlic breath.’ Allicin makes garlic antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. Studies have shown that allicin helps fight oral flora imbalance. It does this by controlling the bad bacteria that cause dental disease like cavities and gum disease. Garlic also contains prebiotic fiber which aids the development of strong teeth. This prebiotic fiber helps your gut health which in turn leads to healthy teeth and gums!


The African breadfruit is valued and appreciated for its health benefits. Eating roasted breadfruit requires a lot of chewing. This stimulates the production of saliva, which helps clear away food, strengthen teeth, and reduce the levels of acid in your mouth. Also, the minerals generated by the extra saliva can even help strengthen your tooth enamel, which also reduces your risk of a dental cavity. Applying crushed breadfruit leaves on the tongue can also cure thrush.


Don’t you just love the awesome taste of well-spiced chicken? I certainly do. Like most of us, I eat it with relish, giving little or no thought to health benefits. Well, chicken drumsticks have health properties that promote healthy teeth. Chicken drums, thighs, and wings are all rich in collagen which is excellent for joint health. Collagen is also crucial for your gum health. Gum disease occurs when there is a loss of the collagen ligament attachment to your teeth. So, when next you fry chicken or make chicken soup, do your teeth a favour and go for the wings or drumstick.


Surprised? Well, the vitality of water to a healthy smile cannot be overemphasized. Saliva is your mouth’s best friend. It helps to neutralize acids in the mouth and to prevent tooth decay and bad breath. It also helps you between brushing sessions by rinsing food debris. Since saliva is made up of 99.5% water, you need to stay fully hydrated in order to increase production.

In conclusion, take your oral care seriously because your mouth is a window into your body.

Additional References

Mark Burhunne, “7 Best Foods for Beautiful Teeth +7 Surprising Foods To Avoid,” Mindbody Green.

Dr StevenLin the Functional Dentist

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This article was first published on 14th March 2019


Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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