You know that well-balanced nutrition is vital to maintaining your overall health. You likely even have knowledge about the foods that support specific body systems, like nuts for cardiovascular health and green tea for blemish-free skin.
However, even the healthiest individuals often overlook one important bodily system that is highly vulnerable to nutritional changes: the smile. Because your teeth and oral soft tissues come into contact with the food and beverages you ingest, your nutrition affects your oral health more rapidly than almost any other body system.
Improvements in your nutrition can provide you with immediate benefits in the strength and appearance of your smile. In this blog, we list four of the best foods to support oral health.
1. Antimicrobial Aromatics
Many progressive dental problems develop due to the growth of bacteria or other microbes. The food you eat can either inhibit or encourage bacterial growth. For example, sugary and highly starchy items provide bacteria with a constant food source that allows for high rates of reproduction and the development of tooth decay.
You can reduce the spread of oral bacteria by seasoning your food with more antimicrobial aromatics like fresh garlic and ginger. Garlic can help delay periodontal issues, while ginger helps keep your breath fresh.
To further safeguard your smile, season your food with wasabi, soy, sesame seeds, raw onion, and mushrooms.
You likely know that dairy products keep bones and, by extension, teeth strong, but you may not know why. Your teeth constantly undergo processes of demineralization and remineralization. Certain foods, like items with high acid content, leech important minerals from tooth enamel and weaken it.
While the body produces minerals to bolster your enamel, your diet can directly affect how quickly remineralization happens or if the process occurs at all. Dairy, especially hard cheeses, contain both calcium and phosphorous that replenish your tooth enamel.
In addition to traditional dairy products, add aged and fermented dairy like manchego cheese or Greek yogurt to your diet to increase your intake of probiotics. Early evidence suggests that probiotics reduce plaque levels.
3. Dark Green Vegetables
The move toward eating more kale isn't just a fad. More and more studies show a correlation between dark green vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach, and broccoli and whole-body health.
In your mouth, dark green veggies provide folic acid. This nutrient prevents periodontal disease and must come from your diet since your body can only produce and store a limited amount.
Increase the efficacy of folic acid by also increasing your intake of vitamin C. Folic acid and vitamin C work together in the body, so keeping the levels of both nutrients at optimal levels improves absorbency rates. In addition to conventional citrus fruit sources, you'll find vitamin C in bell peppers, berries, and even certain veggies like kale.
4. Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables
Any healthy diet should obviously include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. However, when you focus on oral health, your fruit and vegetable choices should mainly be dark green veggies as discussed above and fibrous options like apples, carrots, and celery.
These crunchy foods provide a mild abrasive that helps supplement your brushing routine. Additionally, the high water content of fibrous fruits and vegetables neutralizes much of the bacteria in your mouth, which reduces the risk of tooth decay.
Fill your everyday diet with the smile-healthy foods listed above to eat your way to healthier teeth. If you have specific questions about how your diet and lifestyle choices can affect your smile, discuss your concerns with your dentist.
For both routine and emergency dental care, trust the expert team at Epps Village Family Dentistry LLC.