THE BLOG

3 Foods Your Dentist Will Love

08/13/2015 06:27 pm ET | Updated Aug 13, 2016

I have always been a bit of a baby when it comes to the dentist. I don't know if it's the weird thing sucking saliva out of my mouth or the bright light they shine toward my face; either way, let's just say I'm not in love (and that's putting it lightly). Research shows I'm not the only one who is not thrilled about being x-rayed, poked, and cleaned. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research's (NIDCR) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 92% of adults aged 20 to 64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth.

As a dietitian, I have come to understand that our eating patterns and food selections play a significant role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease, which help to keep our chompers in tip-top shape to crunch those carrots or chew up that seared pork loin.

Here are three food/drink options you can choose that will help your next dental check-up go as smoothly as possible:

Tea. Yes, these little leaves are more then just a drink you get when you buy a Chinese lunch. They contain powerful compounds that interact with plaque and either destroy or suppress bacteria, stopping them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid. Tea leaves also readily absorb fluoride from soil. As a result, some tea drinks contain fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth.

Cheese. Along with being a tasty treat, it's filled with calcium and vitamin D. According to a study published by the Academy of General Dentistry, consuming cheese and other dairy products may help protect teeth against cavities.

Seafood. If you follow my articles, which you all should, you'll know I'm a fan of these ocean dwellers -- not just because of their flavor and the ease in which they grill on a warm summer evening, but also because they help keep us at our biting best. Seafood contains phosphorous, which is a vital component in improving the strength of your teeth and jaw. Seafood has higher amounts of phosphorus than plant-based foods. Tuna, for instance, provides around 20 % or more of your total phosphorus needs for the day in a single 3oz. serving.

Give these three ingredients a bite and enjoy dental health in a much tastier way--paper bib optional.