There are many compelling reasons to switch to an eco-friendlier lifestyle. You want to do your part to help lower your carbon footprint. A new poll found that 67% of consumers take environmental issues into account when buying new products and 19% are extremely conscious about sustainability when shopping.
In addition to protecting the planet, there are other benefits of switching to an eco-friendlier lifestyle. One of the other benefits is that you can live a healthier lifestyle. An eco-friendly diet can even be better for your teeth!
How Can a More Sustainable Diet Be Better for Your Teeth?
We rarely think about all of the ways that our environmentally destructive processes affect us. We often don’t even think about the impact on the environment. The effect they have on our health gets even less attention.
However, these choices can be just as debilitating for our health as for the planet. This is particularly true for our teeth.
For example, many of the same toxins that can leech into the planet can also corrode our teeth. The foods that are bad for our teeth are also more likely to be made with environmentally damaging processes. Partially hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup are terrible for the environment. They are made with processes that deplete soil of vital nutrients, which leads to erosion. They also require a lot more energy to be produced. Furthermore, these foods are mass produced, which means that they have to be shipped all over the world. This obviously entails a larger carbon footprint, since a lot of gas is needed to ship them.
Diets that are better for the planet just happen to also be better for our teeth. For example, we have talked about the benefits of switching to vegan diets to help the planet. These diets also happen to be better for your health, including your teeth.
However, you can’t just switch to a vegan diet and expect that your teeth will immediately be healthier. You still have to choose your foods carefully. For example, many eco-friendly vegans eat a lot of fruits that are high in starches, which erodes their enamel. Vegans need to opt for foods that are denser in proteins to avoid this.
Keep reading to learn more about the need to make good choices for your teeth and the planet.
Making Smart Dietary Choices for Both Your Teeth and the Environment
It’s not that difficult to take great care of your teeth, but it does take some knowledge and dedication. The same can be said about choosing foods that are good for the planet. It’s a necessary thing to do as well, because your teeth are with you for life and if you neglect them, they’ll get damaged or worse. You definitely don’t want to have oral health problems because they can have far reaching effects to the rest of your body and overall wellness too, as well as the environment.
We all know that brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly are requirements, but not so many of us pay attention to diet when it comes to our teeth. Fact is that eating healthy and choosing the right foods (while eliminating the wrong ones) can drastically cut down on the risk of tooth decay, as well as your environmental footprint. Keep reading to learn more about what foods are good for your teeth and what you should avoid.
The impact the food you eat has on your teeth and the environment
The goal of “eating for your teeth” is to help them stay strong by keeping your mouth free of bacteria and acids. Since foods that produce acids also tend to be worse for the environment (such as high fructose corn syrup), you can help avoid tooth decay by choosing eco-friendlier foods.
The easiest way to look at the food – teeth connection is to go over some foods that are good and some that are bad for your oral health. For example, foods like crunchy green vegetables are great while stuff like chocolates or sugary drinks are bad. Things like vegetables are fibrous, nutritious, and filled with water that helps rinse your mouth clean, while the latter contains sugars that coat your teeth and promote bacteria growth. Of course, vegetables are also eco-friendlier than the sugary foods, so you are making better choices all around!
What are the best foods for your teeth?
The best food options for your teeth are:
- Crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery, fennel etc.
- Leafy greens like salad, spinach and kale
- Natural fruits like apples or pears
- Yogurts and cheeses
- Nuts of all kinds
- Lean proteins such as meat, fish, poultry or tofu
There are lots of other options as well, but these are the general types of foods you should be trying to eat to take care of your teeth.
Foods like carrots, celery and apples are good because they provide fiber and hydration for your body. They have a texture that cleans your teeth as you bite and chew, while also containing a lot of water to help rinse your mouth as you eat. Instead of grabbing a candy bar or dessert, reach for an apple or vegetable snack instead.
Leafy greens like salad, kale and arugula are great because they provide lots of vitamins and minerals without being calorie heavy. These also help in saliva production which cleans your mouth and boosts the health of your tooth enamel.
Dairy products are also an option you should choose due to their saliva boosting effects. They also contain the calcium and protein your body needs to strengthen teeth. Yogurt and kefir style dairy products are also high in probiotics which help your digestive system. Just remember, try to stay away from adding a sweetener like sugar or honey to the mix because those aren’t good for your teeth.
Nuts and lean protein meats work well too because protein is necessary to build strong teeth. Nuts are especially high in calcium and protein while containing next to no sugar. Meat, poultry, fish and even tofu are awesome choices for your oral health.
Don’t forget about beverages
The best thing you can drink for your teeth is water. That’s because it will rinse your mouth of bacteria while providing the hydration needed for saliva production. It’s also clean and neutral so it won’t have a detrimental impact on your teeth or gums. Alternatively, what you don’t want to do is drink sugary beverages like soda, juice or even wine. These types of drinks boost bacteria production, which leads to plaque, cavities, and gum disease. Limit the amount of sugar you consume and increase the amount of water you drink.
Choose the best foods for both your teeth and the environment
In summation, following an eco-friendlier diet tends to be better for your teeth. There are lots of other healthy foods for your teeth and mouth out there as well – variety is the spice of life. They also tend to be better for the environment as well!
If you aren’t sure, you can always consult with your local dentist or medical doctor and they’ll help you create a diet plan that works. Also, just eating the correct foods won’t be enough for good oral health. You always need to incorporate a proper oral hygiene routine which includes brushing at least twice daily and flossing once. Regular visits to your dentist for cleaning appointments and checkups are necessary too. Staying on top of your oral health care routine and your diet are two key fundamentals in maintaining excellent oral health for life.