You probably know how important it is to brush your teeth two times a day: After all, your dentist and parents probably tell you that you should. That way, your breath smells fresh and your teeth stay strong and healthy. Brushing scrubs away the bad bacteria that can hurt your gums and the coating, called enamel, on your teeth. Another important way to protect your (teeth) is eating foods rich in vitamins and protein.
Has your mom or dad ever told you that you should drink milk for strong bones? Teeth are bones, so dairy products are good for them, too. Dairy products like milk and cheese contain calcium, which can strengthen your teeth. Foods like meat and eggs are also good for your teeth: They are high in protein and have a mineral called phosphorous, which rebuilds the enamel that protects your teeth. Another food group that can strengthen your teeth is fruits and vegetables. These are high in water and fiber that help your mouth make saliva, which sounds gross, but saliva is important to help wash bacteria from your teeth.
Some foods you should avoid to keep your teeth healthy are sweets and sugary drinks. This includes cakes, candies, and sodas. The type of sugar in these foods sticks to your teeth. The bad bacteria in your mouth like to “eat” this sugar. The bacteria then release acids that cause cavities and tooth decay. That doesn’t mean that you can’t eat sweets and soda; it just means that you should eat less of those foods and more of the foods that will help your teeth stay healthy.
The good news is that eating foods that are good for your teeth can be delicious, and if you make your own food, it can even be fun. You’d be surprised how many recipes you can actually make all by yourself, maybe asking for an adult’s help chopping fruits and vegetables or using the oven if necessary.
- Basic Omelet: Omelets are an easy way to add some vegetables to your breakfast. Just whip an egg, pour it in a pan, add fillings like cheese, spinach, and tomatoes to one side, and cook.
- Healthy Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Who doesn’t love an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich? Use any type of cheese and some hearty whole-wheat bread for a lunch packed with calcium, protein, and fiber.
- Italian Sandwich Roll-Ups: Enjoy a change from your usual deli sandwich by rolling its filling into tortillas spread with cream cheese.
- Kid-Friendly Meatballs: You need just six ingredients, a bowl, and a spoon (or your hands!) to make these quick and easy meatballs.
- Light and Creamy Apple Salad: Apples are excellent for cleaning teeth because the fiber in them acts like a toothbrush. Combine chopped apples with a handful of raisins for sweetness, yogurt and mayo for creaminess, and nuts for more crunch and you’ll have yourself a refreshing fruit salad.
- Microwave Egg Sandwich With Cheddar and Avocado: Do you have a bowl, eggs, cheese shreds, avocado, and bread? In five minutes or less, you can whip together a breakfast sandwich without ever having to turn on the stove.
Make Your Own Lunch
- Apple Sandwich: For a new take on a peanut butter sandwich, use round apple slices for the “bread.”
- Black Bean Cheese Quesadillas: These quesadillas have a little spice from the salsa mixed into the mashed beans. Protein and calcium for strong teeth come from the black beans and cheese. For a little more, add sour cream at the end.
- Easy Egg Salad: Learn how to hard-boil eggs for a protein-rich egg salad made with Greek yogurt.
- Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad: Dried fruit, diced celery, chopped nuts, and Greek yogurt add sweetness, fiber, healthy fat, protein, and calcium to this filling chicken salad.
- Homemade SpaghettiOs: Who needs the canned stuff when you can make your own SpaghettiOs? If you can, try to find the O-shaped pasta that’s usually in SpaghettiOs. Otherwise, use any small pasta.
- Taco Pasta Salad: This taco salad uses the fillings you would usually stuff in a taco shell but mixed with pasta instead for a meal that’s easier to eat.
- “Chickpea of the Sea” No-Fish Tuna Salad Sandwich: Mashed chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, work well as a substitute for tuna in a tuna-salad-like sandwich. This recipe adds celery and red onion, which clean teeth and contain chemicals that kill bad bacteria.
- Creamy Dairy-Free Macaroni and Cheese: For a cheesy macaroni that doesn’t have cheese, try the dairy-free cheddar shreds from the Daiya brand. It tastes just as cheesy and delicious!
- Creamy Dairy-Free Tomato Soup: No cream and no blender are necessary for this yummy soup that would go great with a sandwich.
- Dark Chocolate Nice Cream (Dairy-Free “Ice Cream”): This “nice” cream checks all of the allergen boxes, as it includes only bananas, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. It’s a fruity alternative to high-sugar ice creams.
- Egg- and Dairy-Free French Toast: A mixture of mashed banana, plant-based milk, and cinnamon makes a sweet and delicious substitute for the egg and milk dip used in regular French toast. Top your toasts with chopped strawberries, which contain an acid that whitens enamel.
- Nut-Free Monkey Munch Trail Mix: When you’re on the go and feeling munchy, reach for a trail mix of dried fruit, chocolate, and seeds. For oral health, add some dark chocolate into this mix.
- Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla Soup: Black beans are an easy source of protein and fiber, and the onion and bell pepper in this soup add nutrients.
- Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets: Cooks use chicken, a protein rich in tooth-strengthening phosphorous, in a lot of recipes, the best being, of course, chicken nuggets! In this recipe, you bake the nuggets instead of frying them, saving time and mess and avoiding all of that greasy oil.
- Easy Vegetable Fried Rice: For an easy serving of vegetables and a kick of protein, throw chopped veggies and scrambled eggs in a large skillet with cooked brown rice.
- Mini Meat Loaves: Food is more fun when it’s little! These mini meat loaves only take about 30 minutes to prepare and cook.
- Pizza with Homemade (No-Yeast) Pizza Dough: Most pizza doughs use yeast and need two or more hours to make. This dough uses baking powder instead, so you can have a pizza in the oven in 15 minutes.
- Whole-Wheat Pancakes: Mixing pancake batter isn’t difficult, but finding the right temperature and cooking time for the pancakes is a little trickier. Once you’ve mastered that, you’ll be on your way to fluffy breakfast goodies that you can top with fruit and enjoy with a glass of milk.
Healthy Snacks and Desserts
- Banana Bread Granola: Most granola from the store has a lot of sugar that isn’t good for your teeth. This banana bread granola is sweetened by mashed banana alone. The oatmeal used in the recipe is a whole grain, which can help protect teeth from gum disease.
- Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies: Cookies for breakfast? Yes, please! Just mash a banana and mix it with rolled oats, applesauce, a touch of maple syrup, nuts or seeds, and spices for a sweet treat.
- The Best Healthier Brownies: Eating for healthy teeth doesn’t mean not enjoying dessert. These healthier brownies have protein-rich Greek yogurt, whole-grain oat flour, and less sugar than regular brownies.
- Fruit Smoothie Popsicles: Skip the sugary ice pops in the freezer aisle and blend some juice, fruit, and yogurt in a blender to make creamy frozen snacks.
- Healthy Chocolate Pudding: This pudding is just as creamy and chocolatey as the pudding cups from the school cafeteria but has much less sugar and more fiber.
- Morning Glory Muffins: Start your day with muffins that are full of whole grains, fruit, carrots, walnuts, and warm spices. The ingredients have lots of vitamins and minerals, like omega-3s, vitamin A, and fiber.