What’s good for your body is also good for your mouth. Did you know what you eat can help to protect your teeth and gums from damage and bacterial infection. As the saying goes “We are we eat,” how we feel, how we look and our overall health can really depend on what we put in our mouths. So it really isn’t surprising that what we put in our mouths can also literally be good for our mouths – in addition, of course, to regular visits to the dentist, daily brushing and flossing.
Ongoing research indicates that antioxidants and other nutrients found in many of the foods we eat may help strengthen our immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, all of which can help protect the teeth and gums. So when it comes to oral health, today’s nutritional approaches go way beyond the traditional “don’t eat sugar.”
Here are my five food tips for a healthy mouth:
- Choose vitamin C.
The antioxidant vitamin C, found in oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and numerous other fruits and veggies, may help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection. Vitamin C also plays a role in the production of collagen, which could help maintain your gums’ strength and integrity and help to prevent receding gums.
- Dine on greens – they are high in calcium you know.
Green leafy vegetables, seaweeds and sea vegetables are rich in calcium, as well as other minerals and goodies that our bodies need, and may help promote healthy teeth and bones, reducing the risk of tooth loss. Calcium, specifically, helps protect your teeth against periodontal (gum) disease. Vitamin D is needed to help your body absorb and use the calcium so make sure you are getting sensible sun exposure, eat free range eggs or supplement with cod liver oil to get enough of this magic vitamin
- Enjoy it raw.
Crisp fruits and raw vegetables, such as apples, pears, carrots, peppers and celery, help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath. Supposedly, the high water content stimulates saliva, which helps to wash away food particles. Please note I am not suggesting a raw food diet, just having a raw component from time to time.
- Go Dark.
As in dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and spinach. Peas and asparagus are great choices too, even though they technically aren’t leafy, since they contain folic acid, which may promote a healthy mouth by supporting cell growth and cell repair throughout the body.
- Drink up.
With water or herbal and unsweetened decaffeinated black or green teas. Water helps produce saliva, which could possibly be your mouth’s best defense against tooth decay because it contains proteins and minerals that may counteract enamel-eating acids. Tea contains a compound called polyphenol, which research has shown may slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease.
For a healthy mouth keep it simple, focus on a well-balanced nutrient dense diet versus individual nutrients. Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, lean protein (such as fish, eggs and poultry) and healthy fats (avocados, almonds and olive oil). Oh, and definitely still brush and floss daily and have regular dental visits for those important dental checks and cleans.
Please call our friendly Dental team to make an appointment so we can discuss your dental needs on 02 4722 6115.