Even if you have a perfect oral hygiene routine and come in for regular checkups, you still may have a fox in your vineyard, so to speak, that prevents you from attaining the healthy teeth and gums you desire.
According to the American Dental Association, what we eat affects our oral health as much as our oral hygiene routine. In fact, some studies suggest that when diet is not what it should be, the percentage of maintaining healthy teeth over a lifetime is significantly low. This is related to the fact that a well-balanced diet gives us the nutrients we need to do things such as fight infection.
The majority of us know that sugars and acids do the most damage to our teeth. But you may be wondering if there are foods that can actually boost oral health, and if so, which ones?
Here at Scott Edwards DDS, we care about patient education, so we’ve put together this guide to educate you in ways you can improve your diet, which in turn will improve the overall health of your mouth. Protect yourself by learning more.
Food Categories for a Healthy Mouth
Low-Carb Nuts- almonds, Brazil Nuts, cashews
Nuts that are low in carbohydrates are loaded with health benefits for your teeth. Chewing them stimulates saliva production much like chewing gum. Additionally, nuts are packed with calcium and phosphorous, minerals that help prevent tooth decay.
Raw Veggies – onions, carrots and celery
Raw onions have powerful antibacterial properties which make them terrific for oral health. Raw carrots are full of Vitamin A, which keeps tissues healthy and maintains saliva production. Raw celery, like carrots, is also a source of Vitamin A but also Vitamin C. Both, raw carrots and celery, increase saliva production through chewing and are naturally abrasive, which can scrape away food particles and bacteria from your teeth.
Raw Leafy Greens- spinach, broccoli, kale
Leafy greens are rich in calcium and lots of other important vitamins and minerals for your mouth. They also contain folic acid, an essential vitamin that prevents gingivitis and periodontal disease and also preserves gum tissues. Your best option is raw because cooking decreases the amount of folic acid within a vegetable.
Fruits- kiwis, apples, berries
This is where you can get high amounts of Vitamin C. Without Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down which can lead to periodontal disease. Kiwis have one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C. Apples are packed with antioxidants, high in fiber and water, and chewing them produces saliva. Berries are packed with antioxidants, which fight bacteria. Fresh cranberries are rich in polyphenols, which disrupt the formation of plaque. Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C and also contain a compound that naturally whitens teeth.
Lean Proteins- poultry, beef, fish
Your body uses proteins to build and repair tissues. Turkey, skinless chicken breasts, and pork loins are good lean protein choices. Lean beef is loaded in phosphorous, a mineral that protects tooth enamel. Wild salmon and tuna are also rich in phosphorous, but also contain Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. For more protein, add eggs, beans, legumes, and peas.
Low-fat or Fat-free Dairy- milk, cheese, yogurt
Dairy products are low in sugar, but they also contain protein and are rich in calcium, a mineral that keeps teeth strong. Milk and cheese lower acid levels in your mouth, which helps to fight tooth decay. Chewing hard, aged cheese increases saliva production, which washes off bacteria. Plain yogurt is low in sugar, high in calcium, and contains probiotics that benefit your gums by crowding out bad bacteria.
Water & Unsweet Green/Black Tea
Fluoridated water is the single best drink for oral health. Fluoride is “nature’s cavity fighter” and helps make teeth resilient to cavity-causing acids. Since the United States adds fluoride to its water, you can find it in your faucet at home or a water fountain at work. Water not only keeps you hydrated but also mixes with saliva to help your mouth fight plaque. Drink water after a meal and swish away left behind food particles.
Unsweet Green tea contains compounds that kill the bacteria leading to plaque. Unsweet Black tea contains polyphenols that attack harmful bacteria in the mouth that lead to gum disease and cavities.
Bonus – Sugarless Gum
Gum is tasty and freshens breath, but you need to get the sugarless kind. Gum is also widely-known to produce saliva, which washes away the bacteria in plaque. After eating, there are acids left on teeth that can lead to tooth decay over time. Instead of waiting until you brush your teeth, you can get an immediate smaller cleaning by chewing gum for twenty minutes after meals, as this increases the saliva production. Be aware, though, gum is not a substitute for brushing and flossing.
All Your Orthodontic Needs With Scott Edwards DDS
Our practice is committed to providing the highest caliber of dental care in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere for the entire family. We are an exceptional team, who comes to work truly excited about what we do. Only through excellence in dentistry and quality relationships can we make a positive contribution to the oral health, happiness and self-esteem of those around us. Excellence in everything is expected.
With two convenient dentist offices in Memphis, located in Midtown and East Memphis, we are better able to serve our patients. Dr. Scott Edwards and his associate, Dr. Julia Prince, regularly attend continuing education to ensure our practice stays on the cutting edge of technology.
Diet makes a difference when it comes to oral health. If you have questions or would like to learn more, Call Scott Edwards DDS at (901)-681-0011 and schedule a consultation and restore your oral health today!