Clogged arteries, diabetes and difficulties during pregnancy are just some of the complications that poor oral health can lead to. Oral health is a key factor and one of the most underrated aspects of overall full-body health.
Brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly are recommended habits to maintain a healthy mouth, but there are other simple and natural ways you can improve your oral health. Most of us have heard sugar is bad for teeth, orange juice erodes the enamel, sticky foods cause cavities… But, did you know foods like cheese, strawberries, or even onions can benefit oral health?
In addition to brushing, flossing, and other healthy habits, incorporate the foods listed below into your diet to help support a healthy mouth (and body), reduce the risk of tooth decay, and even brighten up those pearly whites.
Foods that naturally support healthy gums
Green Tea – Some research suggest that this antioxidant-rich tea can help with inflammation in the body. A specific type of antioxidant, called catechins, help gums fight off inflammation caused by the oral bacteria responsible for gum disease. (2) The catch is, this needs to be green tea without fruit additives, like orange spice or pomegranate. These added fruit flavors have a high acidity that can have a negative effect on enamel – minimize consumption of these types of teas.
Pomegranate – Studies have shown that pomegranate fights against harmful oral bacteria and has antimicrobial activity, warding against gum disease. (3) Be sure to only consume high acidic foods, like citrus fruit, in limited quantities. If consumed in excess, the acid found in these foods can have damaging effects on tooth enamel.
Peppers and citrus fruit – As well as being packed with Vitamin C, pepper and fruits like, kiwis, oranges, and pineapple have anti-inflammatory property that is beneficial to gums and overall dental health. (4) Please remember to consume high acidic foods, like citrus fruit, in limited quantities. If consumed in excess, the acid found in these foods can have damaging effects on tooth enamel.
Shiitake Mushrooms – Lentinan is an antibacterial compound found in shiitake mushrooms and fights against plaque-building bacteria in the mouth.
Onions – Onions neutralize bacteria in the mouth that causes gum disease and cavities.
Dairy Products – A high intake of calcium and vitamin D rich milk and fermented foods, like yogurt and cheese have been proven to reduce the effects and prevent periodontitis (inflammation of the gums, one of the most common diseases caused by harmful bacteria found in the mouth). (1)
Teeth are the only part of the body that cannot repair themselves, so extra care and attention is needed to keep your smile healthy for a lifetime. Small changes in diet are an easy and natural way to support good oral health as well as overall full-body health. All of these foods should be consumed and used in moderation. Anything in excess has the potential to damage teeth or other parts of your body. In addition to any of the suggested natural ways to improve your oral health, always remember to brush your teeth twice a day with fluorinated toothpaste, floss between your teeth once a day, and visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.
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