Not only does what you eat impact your overall health, it can specifically affect your oral health by either helping or hindering your body while it is trying to build your teeth or fight off tooth decay. We all know the importance of calcium in the diet, but you may be less familiar with the other ways that food can protect your teeth.

Vitamin C and Your Teeth

The human body has to have a certain amount of vitamin C in order to maintain its various connective tissues and to fight off infection. When it comes to oral health, studies have shown that people who consume low levels of vitamin C per day are much more likely to develop periodontal disease than those who consume a higher dose. Gingivitis is a kind of periodontal disease in which the gums become inflamed and can bleed easily, requiring gum disease treatment. A single piece of citrus fruit a day is enough for you to get the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables

Eating crunchy raw vegetables and fruits (such as celery, pears, apples, and carrots) can help protect your teeth in a couple of ways. To begin with, the texture of the vegetable or fruit helps to scrub away any bacteria on your teeth that might tend to cause plaque. In addition, the extra chewing you do when you're eating these kinds of foods increases the production of saliva in your mouth, which in turn helps to reduce bacteria.

Black Tea

Even though tea does tend to stain teeth, tea drinkers also enjoy dental benefits from tea. For instance, certain compounds in black tea are known to suppress or even destroy the bacteria in plaque that causes cavities in teeth. Not only will this help ward off the cavities themselves, it will reduce the chance of gum disease developing as well.

Water and Teeth

You might not think of water as something that will help protect your teeth, but drinking lots of water is one of the most effective ways to remove any bacteria or food debris from your mouth. Food between your teeth can easily be transformed by bacteria into tooth damaging plaque. Another good reason to drink lots of water is that the fluoridation in the water helps to fight tooth decay.

Note: It's better to drink tap water than bottled water, since bottled water does not contain fluoride.