Five Oral Health Superfoods
Maybe you’ve resolved to be good to your body by eating the right foods, but how about your smile? Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you, a critical component of that all-important first impression. And current research shows that your smile’s health can have very real consequences on the well-being of your body. Gum disease in particular can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other systemic diseases.
So for 2018, make sure your diet includes foods that boost dental health. Read on to learn about five superfoods that will make your smile shine. And book your next checkup with Dores Dental. Call our Longmeadow, MA office at 413-241-3995.
Your teeth need calcium to stay strong and healthy, and dairy products are loaded with the stuff — 300 mg in one cup of milk. Dairy products also contain proteins called caseins, which appear to form a sort of coating over the teeth that protects the enamel from decay-causing acids created by bacteria. Phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D — which help your body absorb calcium — are also found in milk. Research from the ADA suggests that drinking milk after eating sugary foods will minimize the harmful effects of the sugar on the teeth.
Of all dairy products, cheese stands out. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, cheese seems to raise the pH level of the mouth — which lowers the likelihood of developing tooth decay. This may be due to the fact that cheese stimulates saliva production, which rinses away bacteria and neutralizes acids.
Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria called probiotics. These may, in essence, crowd out the decay-causing harmful bacteria in the mouth, reducing your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
One caveat: avoid dairy products like sweetened milks and yogurts. Their high sugar content will negate any dental-health benefits.
Spinach. Kale. Swiss Chard. Watercress. Leafy green vegetables are another excellent way to get your calcium. If you don’t or can’t eat dairy (or even if you do), be sure to load up on your greens. They are low in calories, and packed with vitamins and minerals that benefit your entire body. Leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of folic acid. This is a type of B vitamin that promotes healthy gums, an especially important consideration for pregnant women, who are at risk for a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
Nuts are low in sugar, but high in protein and minerals that benefit your dental and overall health. Because they contain few carbohydrates, they don’t increase the production of bacteria and cavity-causing acids in your mouth. Chewing nuts stimulates the production of saliva, which helps keep your mouth clean and reduces your chances for decay and gum disease.
Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
Next time you’re craving a snack, skip the chips or crackers. Grab an apple or a handful of carrots sticks. Fruits and vegetables, of course, are packed with water and rich in body-boosting vitamins and minerals. Their fibrous texture stimulates the gums and helps keep the mouth clean — even if, like apples, they do contain a bit of sugar. The act of chewing them increases saliva flow in your mouth, rinsing away bacteria and the destructive acids they produce.
Okay, water’s not technically a food, but it’s arguably the most important thing you can consume for the health of your teeth and gums. If you tend to quench your thirst with sugary soda, juice, or sports drinks, try to eliminate them from your daily routine and replace them with plain old H2O.
Frequent water consumption helps keeps your mouth clean throughout the day, when you don’t always have access to a toothbrush or floss. It rinses away decay-causing bacteria, dilutes acids, and helps dislodge food stuck between the teeth.
If possible, choose water from the tap. It is better for the environment than bottled water (no plastic for the landfill). Plus, most municipal water supplies are fortified with fluoride, a mineral that’s essential for keeping tooth enamel strong and able to resist acid attacks from bacteria. If you don’t have one already, invest in a reusable, portable water bottle. Get into the habit of carrying it with you throughout the day so you can always stay hydrated and keep your mouth clean!
At Dores Dental, we will happy to further discuss how to keep your and your family’s smiles healthy at home. If you live in or around Longmeadow, MA, be sure to book your next appointment. You may contact us online or call our office at 413-241-3995.