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As the Irish proverb goes, “laughter is brightest where food is best” – a great saying to think of when you’re with friends and family and showing off your pearly whites. But what if neglecting your oral health has left you feeling self-conscious about your teeth? Then what?
Whatever you put into your mouth will affect your teeth and gums. So, if it’s soft, sticky, and gooey like ultra-processed food, most of it will stay on your teeth and end up giving a satisfying meal to bacteria, resulting in cavities.
Bacteria that feed on carbohydrates, such as bread, cereal, milk, soda, cake, and candy, caused tooth decay. The bacteria then produce acids which mix with food debris and saliva to form a sticky plaque that adheres to the tooth enamel. This acid then wears away the enamel, leading to the formation of cavities.
Did you know that tooth decay is an infectious disease and the second most common after the common cold?
You likely already know that brushing your teeth at least twice daily with the correct toothbrush and drinking water can help safeguard your choppers, but what other steps can you take to avoid pricey cavities or more deadly mouth issues? How do you move forward?
Eating right is one of the most important factors in achieving and keeping good oral health. A well-rounded diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins supplies the necessary nutrients to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods can also help protect against oral disease by bolstering your immune system and fighting off infection-causing bacteria.
Vitamin A can help stave off dry mouth, which lowers the risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Eating oranges and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables, like apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes, is an effective way to get your daily dose of this nutrient.
Vitamin C has antioxidants that help oral health, such as reducing gum inflammation. It also has malic acid, which provides natural whitening properties. Include vitamin C-rich foods in your meals and snacks daily, like apples, pears, strawberries, pineapples, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, and cucumbers.
Vitamin E acts like a balm for the gums, healing and reducing inflammation. Foods like apples, broccoli, almonds, walnuts, chocolate, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ are excellent sources of this vitamin, which also helps produce estrogen, an important hormone for strong bones and teeth.
Foods with large amounts of Vitamin D and calcium can keep your teeth strong and prevent cavities. Salmon and mackerel, tuna, portobello mushrooms, soy, broccoli, carrots, almonds, cashews, spinach, kale, and collard greens are all excellent sources.
Vitamin B-12 aids in the healing of wounds, including mouth sores and gum inflammation. Eating foods such as eggs, clams, tuna, chicken, soy, apples, bananas, mango, blueberries, butternut squash, potatoes, beets, and alfalfa can increase the density and strength of your teeth, helping to prevent fractures and cracks.
Fiber-rich foods can help clean your teeth by supplying some natural abrasive action while you chew them up; think apples, carrots, or celery sticks as snacks. Probiotic-packed foods such as yogurt help keep a healthy balance in the mouth by introducing healthy bacteria, which fight bad bacteria.
Remember–eating a balanced diet will help keep your teeth and gums healthy and positively impact your overall health too!
The Food-as-Medicine philosophy is based on the belief that whole food is a traditional remedy with the therapeutic power to improve and maintain one’s health. The philosophy has been around for hundreds of years.Read More