Can what you eat be good for your teeth as well as your body?
March is National Nutrition Month. Dr. Christine Haag, a dentist with First Choice Dental says, "We agree with the American Dental Association's view on the subject of nutrition and its link to dental health. Oral tissues like gums, teeth, and even chewing muscles are living tissues, and they have the same nutritional requirements as any other living tissue in the body. Diet not only affects the number and kinds of cavities, but can also be an important factor in the development of periodontal disease, or gum disease."
In addition to brushing and flossing, the other thing that you can do for your teeth is to eat nutritious food. Certain foods can help neutralize the acids in our mouth which can help fight bacteria that causes tooth decay. Cavities and gum disease are caused by bacteria that "accumulate" on the teeth and gums and causes plaque. If the plaque isn't brushed away, the bacteria in plaque can wear away tooth enamel.
10 foods to boost the health of your body and your smile!
- Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin A and C are good choices for a beautiful smile.
- Apples help keep teeth not only healthy but white. The acid in the apple helps remove stains. Apples have been called nature's toothbrush because they stimulate the gums, increase saliva flow and reduce the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria.
- Carrots increase the absorption of calcium by the body. They contain Vitamin A that helps you absorb calcium and makes your teeth healthier.
- Calcium is a perfect choice for healthy teeth and gums. Choose foods that are high in calcium and phosphates, which help balance your mouth's pH. Cheese is one example. The calcium in cheese also preserves and rebuilds tooth enamel and produces saliva, which kills bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities.
- Celery requires extra chewing, which promotes saliva production, whith neutralizes bacteria.
- Green tea helps fight cavities and contains substances called catechins that kill the bacteria in your teeth that cause plaque.
- Kiwi contains vitamin C that helps keep your gums healthy. The vitamin C present in this fruit helps in production of collagen. Collagen is one of the primary ingredients of gum tissue.
- Oranges are also famous for containing lots of Vitamin C.
- Sesame seeds and other naturally abrasive foods help slough off plaque and help build tooth enamel. Sesame seeds are also high in calcium.
- Water is among the best beverages you can choose for a healthy smile and body. Plain old water keeps your gums hydrated. And it is the best way to stimulate saliva, your body's greatest defense against the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. Rinsing your mouth with water also helps flush food particles that can become trapped between teeth.
Foods to avoid if you want a healthy smile and body
Avoid sugary and starchy foods which are especially hard on teeth and gums. The sugar and starch sticks to the teeth and gums and if not removed can cause plague and cavities. When starches mix with amylase, an enzyme in saliva, the result is an acid bath that erodes the enamel and makes teeth more susceptible to decay. If starchy foods linger in the mouth, the acid bath is prolonged, and the potential for damage is all the greater.
In general, whole and natural, unprocessed foods are better for your body and your smile than processed foods.
Soft drinks are also hard on teeth as the acid can "eat" away at the tooth enamel and the sugar can cause tooth decay.
Since it's National Nutrition Month, March is the perfect time to start or continue great nutritional habits that help your body and your smile. "Good nutrition is just as important for a healthy teeth and gums as it is for a healthy body. A diet that's low in sugar and processed foods, and limits treats like sugary juices and sodas is better for your teeth and gums, and will help you avoid tooth decay and other oral health issues," says Dr. Christine Haag of First Choice Dental.