It comes as no surprise that brushing your teeth, flossing, and making regular trips to the dentist are the most effective way to get rid of plaque buildup and tartar — which will ultimately help prevent cavities and gum disease. Did you know that the foods you eat also have a significant impact on your dental health?
Embracing a healthy diet is one of the best ways to make sure you have a healthy smile.
While foods like hard candies and caffeine will wreak havoc on your teeth, there are many great food options for healthy teeth and gums. Here are eight veggies that top our list.
If you’re one of the many people who often say, “Cheese, please,” you now have another reason to enjoy this delectable food. Eating cheese raises the pH in your mouth and reduces your risk of tooth decay. Researchers theorize that the chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. The saliva then eliminates small fragments of food that feed the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Saliva also neutralizes the enamel-damaging acids and repairs the tooth’s protective surface. Moreover, cheese contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.
No doubt you’ve heard the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Turns out, it also keeps the dentist away. Apples provide a triple threat against tooth decay and poor oral health. The fibrous content and water in apples reduces the likelihood of bone loss associated with receding gums, tooth loss, and jaw bone erosion. Additionally, the acidity in apples destroys the harmful bacteria that ushers in bad breath, and the workout your mouth gets from chewing the fruit increases saliva production, another helper in the fight against dental problems.
Sugarless Chewing Gum
When it comes to increasing saliva production, sugar-free chewing gum is a winner. While technically not food for healthy teeth and gums, it is a consumable and earns the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Like with apples and cheese, the physical act of chewing gum increases salivary flow. The increased saliva created after eating can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are generated when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth.
Researchers at Ohio State University discovered that nutrients extracted from a Hass avocado may help prevent oral cancer. Phytochemicals from the avocados increase the amount of reactive oxygen within the cells and target many signaling pathways. It’s thought that these phytochemicals can halt the growth of precancerous cells or even destroy them without damaging our normal cells.
Like apples, carrots provide a crunch that increases saliva production and reduces your likelihood of acquiring cavities. But they’re also packed with vitamin A, a surefire way to increase oral health. Vitamin A helps keep mucous membranes strong, helps your mouth heal quickly, and prevents dry mouth.
Celery may have a bad rep as a bland food with stringy bits that make eating difficult, but it also carries a powerful punch. Rich in vitamins A and C, celery is loaded with antioxidants that give your gum health a boost. Like apples and carrots, it also serves as a natural toothbrush by scraping off food particles and unwanted bacteria.
Packed with vitamin B-9, spinach carries an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in cell growth and repair. Vitamin B-9 helps make your gums more resilient to plaque and anaerobic bacteria, which are two of the leading causes of bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. One cup of the leafy green provides 58.2 mcg, or 15% of the recommended daily intake.
Green and Black Teas
Green and black tea contain polyphenols that destroy or prevent bacteria from growing. This helps guarantee that bacteria doesn’t grow or make acid that ruins the teeth. Depending on the type of water used to brew the tea, a cup can also be a good source of fluoride.
Even the loss of just a single tooth can cause an individual to feel self-conscious about the way he or she looks. When you eat your veggies you are helping to ensure a long-term healthy smile.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.