There are plenty of delicious ways to look out for your teeth as well as your waist. Whether you're outside at the BBQ or in the kitchen, try these tasty, tooth-friendly recipes that the whole family will love.

1. Brie and strawberry bites

Cheese is rich in calcium, which is essential for children's teeth. It also helps to neutralise plaque acid and to increase saliva production, making children and teenagers less prone to tooth decay.[1]

Brie is a child-friendly cheese that makes an irresistible snack when paired with strawberries. To make strawberry brie bites, you'll need:

  • whole strawberries (washed)
  • one small wheel brie

Cut the brie wheel into cubes and heat gently in the oven for five minutes. Top with strawberries and skewer. Acidic dressings such as balsamic vinegar are best avoided if you're looking out for your teeth.

2. Low-fat cheeseburger

As well as being another excuse to eat cheese, beef is a good source of calcium as well as phosphorus, which both help your teeth to repair themselves.

To make four low-fat, teeth-friendly burger patties, you'll need:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine the ingredients in a bowl with salt and pepper for seasoning. Separate into four equally sized patties, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To build the burger, you need:

  • 4 multi-grain rolls, halved
  • 4 slices low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • olive oil spray

Spray the burger patties with oil and grill on medium heat for 10 minutes, turning at two-minute intervals and adding the cheese towards the end. Add the burgers to the rolls, along with the tomato, cucumber and onion to add flavour rather than sugary sauces.

3. Macadamia-coated barramundi

If you prefer something even leaner than a low-fat burger, fish is a great alternative source of protein that also includes anti-inflammatory oils and is less likely to get trapped between your teeth.

This baked barramundi is coated in crunchy macadamia that not only keeps it moist, but can also help to remove plaque from your teeth. You'll need:

  • 2 fillets barramundi, halved
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 loaf Vienna bread
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • orange zest

Combine the Vienna bread and orange zest in a food processor until crumbly. Add the macadamias and parsley and mix until the nuts are crushed, but still crunchy. Add the melted butter and orange juice and mix until blended.

Coat the fish with the macadamia mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with a side salad.

4. Roast potato salad

Leafy green vegetables are also high in calcium and help to keep your teeth and bones healthy.

If you're looking for a healthy alternative to chips for your side dish, try this roasted potato salad with caramelised onions for sweetness. You'll need:

  • 1kg potatoes, thinly chopped
  • 4 rashers bacon, thinly sliced
  • 200g snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)

Chop the potatoes into thin wedges and place them in a saucepan with water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.

Drain the potatoes and place on a large baking dish with the bacon and onion. Combine the butter, oil and sugar in a bowl and coat the potatoes in the mixture, then place in a preheated oven at 220°C. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until the wedges are crispy.

Remove from the oven and add the snow peas and parsley. You can choose to add salad dressing or skip it to avoid the acidity.

5. Crunchy fruit salad

Fruits contain natural sugar, which can feed the bacteria in plaque. But firm fruits like apples and pears that require extra crunching encourage saliva production, and this can help neutralise the bacteria and protect against tooth decay.

If you're thinking about a fruit salad for your dessert or snack, look to the crunchy side of the spectrum to give your mouth a great workout. Try: 

  • 3 chopped apples
  • 3 chopped pairs
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Add fruit and walnuts into a large bowl, followed by the honey and mint leaves. Toss, then serve. 

Psst... don't forget about teeth-friendly drinks!

When you've done such a great job with your meals and desserts, you can keep up your winning streak by saying "no" to sugary and acidic drinks.

Water (especially fluoridated water), milk and unsweetened tea can be better alternatives than soft drink or sugary fruit juices. Additionally, try to rinse your mouth with water after every meal in order to neutralise any acids in your mouth - this can help you reduce plaque build-up.

Healthy eating and drinking is a big part of oral hygiene. Make sure everyone in your family is taking the best care of their teeth by brushing twice a day, flossing daily and keeping up with your scheduled dental check-ups.

Sources

[1] Live Science. Chew on This: 8 Foods for Healthy Teeth [Online] 2014 [Accessed Jan 2017] Access from: www.livescience.com