Best Foods for Oral Health

Time and again we’ve all heard that sugar is bad for our teeth. This is due to bacteria in the mouth, which converts sugars and carbohydrates into acids. It's these acids that begin to attack the enamel on teeth, starting the decay process. But are there foods that can actually contribute to your oral health? The answer is yes!

If you think your teeth are suffering from poor oral health, book an appointment today with the professional and friendly staff at 404 Dental!

Top 10 mouth-healthy foods & drinks

Your oral health and total health are connected – the mouth is part of the systemic whole. Here are our top 10 recommended ‘superfoods’ that will not only benefit your mouth but are also good for the rest of you:

1.  Kiwis
Most fruits contain Vitamin C, which is vital for the health of your gum tissue, but kiwis contain the highest amount. Without Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down, the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.

2.  Cheese
High in phosphate and calcium, cheese (and milk) helps neutralize the acid in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.

3.  Celery
Chewing celery (or apples or carrots) produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria Streptococcus mutans that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth.

4.  Tea
Both black and green teas contain compounds called polyphenols, which slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease. They also help with bad breath. Green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities.

5.  Sesame Seeds
High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth and gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.

6.  Onions
Onions have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. They are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked.

7.  Shiitake Mushrooms
These mushrooms contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.

8.  Raisins
Naturally sweet raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that inhibit two species of oral bacteria to prevent cavities and gum disease. Unsweetened cranberries contain polyphenols, which may keep plaque from sticking to teeth, thus lowering the risk of cavities.

9.  Sweet Potatoes
Along with carrots, pumpkin and broccoli, sweet potatoes have high amounts of Vitamin A, which is essential for tooth enamel formation and promotes healing of gum tissue.

10.  Water
Water is as effective as mouthwash at swishing away stuck particles and residue from teeth. It also keeps your gums hydrated while stimulating saliva – the best defense against bacteria.

Summary: what to eat for good oral health
Fill your diet with fresh produce, nuts and seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. These contribute to a more alkaline state in the body, which defends against bacteria and inflammation. Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. These contribute to a more acidic state in the body, which increases bacteria and creates inflammation.

Is chewing gum bad for my teeth?
Chewing sugarless gum is beneficial for your teeth because chewing helps dislodge food which may have gotten stuck to your teeth. It also increases the saliva flow to buffer (neutralize) mouth acids. Some gums contain ingredients that can reduce cavities as well as heal areas on the teeth where cavities are beginning. Chew on that!

Also, keep in mind it’s not only what you eat but when you eat that can affect your dental health. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than snacking throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities. Therefore limit snacking and if you do snack choose fruit, vegetables or a piece of cheese.

For healthy teeth and gums (and for healthy living) think before you eat and drink!

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