When you are trying to have healthy teeth and gums, you might think that you are doing enough to take care of them by brushing and flossing. But taking care of your gums and teeth requires the same nutritional considerations that you would pay your muscles, bones, hair and skin. While certain foods may increase your chances of developing tooth and gum disease, other foods may decrease your chances of developing these conditions. For the healthiest teeth and gums, you should incorporate as many tooth-friendly and gum-friendly foods into your diet as possible.
Although many dairy products have been shown to have a positive impact on your body’s overall health, especially bone strength, very few little attention has been given to the effects that dairy products have upon your teeth and gum health. That changed in 2013 when a study published in the May/June issue of General Dentistry found that cheese may be able to protect against cavities.
In the study, 68 individuals consumed sugar-free yogurt, milk and cheese. Researchers measured the pH in every participant’s mouth 10, 20 and 30 intervals after eating. While there were no noticeable changes in the mouths of those who ate the milk or sugar-free yogurt, participants who ate cheese experienced a sharp increase in pH levels each time their mouths were checked.
How does this affect your oral health? Higher pH levels in the mouth to reduce the chances of developing cavities. Lower pH levels greatly increase your chances for enamel erosion.
Maybe you rarely consider the role of cranberries in your diet except for during Thanksgiving, when you are preparing the cranberry sauce for the table. But cranberries are one of the foods that are rich in a substance known as anthocyanins. These important compounds prevent harmful pathogens from attaching to your teeth and gums.
In fact, some studies have demonstrated a positive effect of cranberry mouthwash upon your oral health.
- Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are almost always included at the top of any healthy food list, for good reasons. Leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, which is vital for developing good oral health. The American Dental Association lists the following leafy greens as particularly healthy for your teeth because of their high calcium content:
- Frozen collard greens
- Cooked spinach
- Foods That Crunch
When you bit into certain foods, there is a satisfying crunch that accompanies your chew. Certain healthy crunchy foods, such as cucumbers, apples and carrots, may provide an added benefit with their crunchy texture. With crunchy foods, you are forced to chew more than with softer foods. This may disrupt the dental plaque in your mouth. As a result, you may actually cleanse the plaque bacteria off of your teeth through the inclusion of crunchy foods in your diet.
- Green Tea
Green tea is a delicious and refreshing drink, but you may not be aware that it has important ways of protecting you from gum disease. A 2009 study in the Journal of Periodontology found that participants who regularly drank green tea had better periodontal health than those who did not consume green tea regularly.
The study looked at all of the following aspects of oral health in green tea drinkers:
- Periodontal pocket depth
- Attachment loss of gum tissue
- Gum tissue bleeding when probed
These three aspects of periodontal health make up the primary reasons for needing to visit a dental provider, such as Wagga Wagga Dental Practise.
What particular aspects of green tea make it so healthy for your gums? Researchers believe that the primary benefit comes from the high antioxidant levels of the tea. Antioxidants are important for warding off inflammation. Gum disease involves heavy inflammation of gum tissues; a reduction in swelling from inflammation would make for healthier teeth.
When you browse the produce section of the grocery store, you may not realize how important the brightness of those peppers are when it comes to providing you with a good defense against tooth and gum disease. The beneficial aspect of peppers comes from their high vitamin C content. While the amount of vitamin C differs depending upon which pepper you eat, most of the brightly colored peppers contain more vitamin C than the average orange.
The high amounts of vitamin C are important to your oral health because a 2006 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin C can fight against inflammation. By reducing inflammation, you reduce your chances of developing gum disease.
- Wild Salmon and Other Foods Rich in Vitamin D
Wild salmon is full of omega-3s, and you may already be aware of how much your heart needs that healthy fat. But wild salmon is also rich in vitamin D, which is essential for absorbing calcium. Since calcium is so important for the strengthening of teeth, you need a diet rich in vitamin D to make sure that your body is able to absorb that calcium.
Other foods rich in vitamin D include:
- Cod liver oil
- Canned tuna
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods, such as milk and cereals
- Sugarless Gum
Far from being a type of candy, sugarless gum may actually benefit your teeth. The American Dental Association states that chewing increases the production of saliva. In turn, saliva washes away acids that cause damage to your tooth enamel. A mere 20 minutes of chewing gum after your meals can prevent the decay of your teeth.
- Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts, especially almonds and pumpkin seeds, are high in phosphorus. You need phosphorus in order to maximize the bone strengthening potential of the calcium that is so important for your teeth.
Since garlic is associated with bad breath, you might believe that it is bad for your oral health. But garlic is high in allicin, which is an important natural antimicrobial tool. By consuming garlic you can help control the number of bad bacteria that contributes to cavities and gum disease.