A balanced diet is important for your overall health, as well as for your teeth. If you or your children consume a lot of sugar in food and drink, this can cause plaque to build up on your teeth and increase your risk of developing dental diseases such as tooth decay.
Cutting down on sugar doesn't have to mean missing out on great-tasting food. Try these five teeth-friendly recipes for delicious meals, snacks and drinks to help look after you and your family’s teeth.
1. Crunchy fruit salad
Some fruits are better for your oral health than others. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons contain acids that can weaken or wear down enamel (the hard, outer layer of your teeth) over time, while dried fruits are very high in sugar. The good news is that crisp and crunchy fruits like apples and pears help to stimulate saliva production, which rinses your mouth and can wash away bacteria.
This crunchy fruit salad recipe includes walnuts, which also stimulate saliva as well as being a good source of calcium, which can help to strengthen your teeth.
⅔ cup walnuts
¼ cup mint
¼ cup untoasted muesli
Roast the walnuts first, then chop them along with the apples, pears and mint leaves. Add to a large bowl, drizzle with honey and serve.
2. Cheesy spinach bake
If you're a cheese lover, you'll be delighted to know that cheese, like other dairy products, is rich in calcium. This helps to restore lost minerals to your teeth that may have been removed by acids and can strengthen them against tooth decay.
This cheesy bake also includes spinach, which is another source of calcium and other useful vitamins and minerals your body needs.
4 cups frozen spinach
1 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 190°C and thaw the spinach, if frozen. Prepare the cream cheese by heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds until slightly soft.
Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped shallots. Add the minced garlic a few minutes later and stir. Finally, add the spinach, creamed cheese and salt and pepper, and combine.
Transfer the mixture to a baking tray, sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
3. Easy chicken curry
As well as dairy products, white meat such as chicken and fish is also a good source of calcium, more so than red meat.
This mild chicken curry recipe is suitable for all the family, and simple to prepare.
2 garlic cloves
1 piece ginger
2 tablespoons tikka masala paste
2 tbsp tomato purée
3 tbsp plain yoghurt
8 chicken thighs
1 can coconut milk
1 can lentils
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 tbsp mango chutney
Peel and chop the garlic, ginger and onion. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions until golden, then the garlic and ginger for a further 2 minutes.
Prepare the curry mixture by mixing the tikka masala paste, tomato purée and yoghurt in a bowl. Chop the chicken thighs in half, add them to the bowl and stir thoroughly to coat the chicken.
Add the contents of the bowl to the frying pan and heat for 5 minutes. Next add the coconut milk, lentils and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for up to 1 hour, stirring and adding water if needed.
After an hour, you can stir in the spinach and add mango chutney for optional seasoning. Serve with rice.
4. Blackberry, feta and watermelon skewers
Snacking too often between meals isn't recommended, as this continually subjects your teeth to acid and may not give the enamel enough time to recover.
If you are feeling peckish though, substituting lollies and chips for fresh fruit and cheese can lessen the impact on your oral health, as well as giving you a vitamin boost.
1 small watermelon
¾ cup feta cheese
1 packet blackberries
Chop the watermelon and feta cheese into small cubes. Poke a toothpick through each pair, top with a blackberry, and you're ready to go!
5. Banana smoothie
Plain, unsweetened yoghurt makes a versatile base for all kinds of tooth-friendly drinks and desserts. As well as being rich in calcium, yoghurt can help to neutralise the acids in your mouth.
This recipe includes bananas for a phosphorus boost that's also beneficial for your teeth.
2 cups milk
2 frozen bananas
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
6 ice cubes
Put all the ingredients together in a blender (if you're using frozen bananas, you don't need ice). Blend and serve!
Other teeth-friendly drinks include milk or simple fluoridated tap water which can help prevent tooth decay.
Talk to a dentist in Brisbane CBD
Do you need some advice from a dentist, or is it time for your check-up and clean? Get in touch with Face Value Dental today to book your comprehensive dental assessment.
Call our friendly team on (07 3221 0677.
 Australian Dental Association. Diet and Nutrition [Online] 2017 [Accessed May 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Health-Week/Oral-Health-for-Busy-Lives/Diet-and-Nutrition
 WebMD. Diet and Oral Health [Online] 2017 [Accessed May 2018] Available from: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/diet-oral-health
 International Osteoporosis Foundation. Calcium content of common foods [Online] 2014 [Accessed May 2018] Available from: https://www.iofbonehealth.org/osteoporosis-musculoskeletal-disorders/osteoporosis/prevention/calcium/calcium-content-common-foods
 Dental Health Services Victoria. Calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus [Online] 2010 [Accessed May 2018] Available from: https://www.dhsv.org.au/dental-health/teeth-tips-and-facts/calcium-vitamin-d-and-phosphorus