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Education > What to Eat (and Not to Eat) For Your Oral Health

What to Eat (and Not to Eat) For Your Oral Health

Close-up of almonds

It is well documented that food and drink are not passive actors in the diseases attacking our health. We choose how we treat our body with the foods we eat. Food is a powerful tool to transform one's health. The biggest health threats today are non-communicable diseases -cancer, heart disease, stroke etc. and food is a powerful prevention tool. Oral health cannot be looked upon as disconnected from one's overall health so food offers a powerful tool to help combat oral diseases.

Green Tea

Catechin (a type of natural phenol and anti-oxidant) in green tea kills bacteria and viruses. Catechin inhibits the growth of streptococcus mutans, the primary bacteria which causes tooth decay. Green tea also reduces bad breath and lowers bacteria counts in the mouth.

Phosphorous + Calcium

Tooth enamel is 96% mineral with a constant dissolution and remineralization occurring on a microscopic level. So eat fish, eggs and other phosphorous containing foods. Calcium rich foods like broccoli, lettuce and legumes are also beneficial to tooth mineralization.

Water

Water is by far the best drink to have, especially between meals. Drink plenty of filtered water which acts as a natural dilutant and mechanical cleaner. Reverse osmosis filtered water is best for purity. Saliva is 99% water so inadequate intake may give one a dry mouth making it hard to swallow and chew.

Sugar

Foods that contain sugar not only promote inflammation in your body, but significantly contribute to tooth decay. When sugar contacts plaque on your teeth the plaque bacteria convert it to acids which are strong enough to cause cavities in your enamel and dentine. Sticky, sweet foods are most harmful - think soda pop, cough drops, candy. Hidden sources of sugar today include many processed foods- think yogurts, crackers and drinks like teas, coffees, juices. Honey, molasses, liquid dextrose, inverted sugar, glucose and fructose are all types of sugar. Dried fruit contains large amounts of natural, sticky sugars that are a hidden source of tooth decay.

Black Raspberries

Studies have shown a gel of black raspberry powder has been shown to inhibit the growth of malignant and premalignant cancerous cells in the mouth, causing most cases of oral cancer to improve or even disappear.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy Green Vegetables are high in calcium for enamel building and folic acid (a B Vitamin) to help fight periodontal disease.

Almonds

Almonds offer an excellent monounsaturated protein source free of sugar but abundant in healthy fats. Almonds offer a lot of calcium and other minerals to help remineralize teeth.

Carrots and Celery

The fibrous nature of these vegetables increases protective saliva production and helps scrape away plaque and bacteria from your teeth. Besides containing large amounts of water they are excellent sources of Vitamins A and C to improve the health of your gums.

Shitake Mushrooms

Considered a superfood these mushrooms are common in Asian cuisine. Shitake mushrooms contain lentinan which is antibacterial and fights plaque build-up.

Nuts and Seeds High in Omega3s

Sesames, pistachios, macadamia nuts offer high levels of anti-inflammatory omega3s. One study found omega3 intake was inversely associated with gum disease.

Co-enzyme Q10

An antioxidant which has been shown to suppress the progression of gum disease. Meats, fatty fish, lentils and broccoli are all high in CoQIO.

Probiotic

Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi support the good oral bacteria in the oral microbiome.

Timing

Having a sweet dessert after a meal can be less harmful than snacking throughout the day due to fewer damaging acid attacks occurring to your teeth leading to fewer instances of tooth demineralization. Sugary snacks lead to at least 20 minutes of demineralization before neutralization can occur.

Overall Diet

A poor diet lacking needed nutrients, vitamins and minerals (think processed foods) will cause your oral health to suffer since it will be more difficult for your body to resist infection allowing gum disease to progress faster.



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