Our teeth and gums are one of the very first areas that suffer when we fail to maintain a healthy nutritious diet. The human mouth is a key element in the complex system of our bodies, at Distinctive Dentistry we believe in educating our clients on the effects that good or bad oral health can have on your overall health.
Most people have at least some awareness regarding the foods that are bad for your teeth; sugar, citrus, pickles. These foods create an acidic state within your body which contributes to decay and gum disease, as well as having a generally unhealthy effect on the balance of your body’s entire system! However, what you may not know is that there are also lots of foods that help boost and maintain awesome oral health! Here’s the what and why on our picks for the top 5 foods to promote healthy teeth and gums:
- Dairy (Milk, Cheese, Yogurt) - The obvious fact here is that dairy contains lots of calcium which strengthens and preserves teeth enamel and bone. A lesser known fact is that dairy also raises the pH in our mouths, this helps neutralize acid and bacteria, reducing the risk of cavities or gum disease. Yogurt has an extra defense mechanism for our oral health as well: Probiotics! These “good bacteria” overtake the bad bacteria on our teeth and gums, keeping them from attacking and causing damage or weakness within our oral system.
Leafy Greens - Every time you talk about health, leafy greens are a part of that conversation; it’s no different with dental health. This awesome class of veggies, including kale, spinach, arugula, and many more, are bursting with helpful vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C boosts the production of red blood cells, protecting you from gum disease and inflammation of the gums, Calcium we already know protects and preserves our teeth, and the high fiber content of most leafy greens causes us to chew more, creating saliva which is vital in the flushing out of food particles, bacteria, and plaque before they can take hold or cause any damage.
- Apples/Carrots/Celery - Crunchy fruits and veggies can be a great substitute for junk food or unhealthy snacking habits. Crunchy fruits and vegetables each have their own beneficial vitamins and minerals which contribute to both dental and overall health. The biggest oral health benefit of these fiber filled foods is that they not only create healthy helpful saliva production as we chew them, but they also act as an abrasive food that scrapes and cleans between and around teeth as you chew. This doesn't mean that you should throw out your toothbrush and keep a celery stick next to your sink, but these crunchy snacks can help tidy up your teeth and gums after a meal if you can’t get to a toothbrush right away.
- Onions - Onions contain powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds and microbial properties. It’s most beneficial to consume them fresh and uncooked, but they will improve your dental health either raw or cooked. There are countless easy preparation techniques and adding more onions to your diet will drastically reduce harmful oral bacteria and minimize your risk of gum disease and cavities.
- Shiitake Mushrooms - These impressive little mushrooms contain a unique, naturally occurring sugar known as lentinan. Lentinan is an antibacterial compound that specifically attacks plaque building bacteria in the hard to reach places within your mouth. These problem places amongst your teeth are at the highest risk for irritation, gingivitis, gum disease, cavities, and more. Adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet is like adding in a delicious, savory, naturally occurring mouthwash into your eating habits. Did we mention how tasty they are? Of course we don’t recommend replacing your mouthwash with mushroom paste, but adding this particular fungus to your dental care routine can be beneficial in reducing your oral health risks.
Our mouths are vital to the health of our bodies. Without teeth it would be very difficult to provide our complex internal system with the nutrients it needs to operate. Being aware of what you eat and how it affect your dental health is key in maintaining a healthy happy lifestyle. Before you decide what your next meal will be, think first about what you are actually putting into your body and whether it has a positive or negative impact. Nutritional awareness is a powerful tool! Happy Munching, we hope we inspired you to try something new!