|READ PART ONE: Foods That Support Healthy Gums||READ PART THREE: Foods That Naturally Whiten Teeth|
Oral health is a key factor and one of the most underrated aspects of overall full-body health. Clogged arteries, diabetes and difficulties during pregnancy are just some of the complications that poor oral health can lead to.
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. Did you know that a simple change in your diet can have a profound affect on your oral health.
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 strengthen your teeth
Hard Cheese – Casein, a milk protein found in cheese, as well as calcium has been shown to reduce the loss of minerals from tooth enamel and strengthen teeth and gums.
Fish – Fatty fish, like mackerel, salmon, trout, tuna and eel are rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D not only supports good bone health, but a lack of it can lead to dry mouth which can contribute to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.
Raisins – Contrary to a long-trusted belief that raisins cause cavities, a recent study has found the popular fruit snack may actually prevent them. These compounds found in raisins suppress the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease. Though this food is considered sticky, and it has been suggested by many to avoid “sticky” foods, this study also determined that raisins only stick to your teeth for about 5 minutes, after that most remnants are washed away by saliva and swallowed.
Leafy Greens – Full of calcium, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard combat cavities and strengthen teeth. They usually require a lot of chewing to break down, generating saliva that cleans and rinses your teeth while neutralizing acid.
High-Fiber Beans – Not a fan of leafy greens, but looking for the same oral health benefits? Try high-fiber beans.
Cacao – High in disease-fighting catechins and antioxidants, cacoa is great for teeth because it fights cavities, plaque and tooth decay. Cacao also contains a compound called CBN, which helps to harden your enamel. When choosing cocoa to benefit your oral health, it is best to nibble on cocoa nibs, though most people will find this unpleasant. The second best option is dark chocolate containing less than six to eight grams of sugar per serving with 70% cocoa or more.
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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