8 Foods that May Help Improve Oral Health
According to the article by Catherine Winters, Contributing Editor at Live Science “Chew on This: 8 Foods for Healthy Teeth” (October 21, 2013), regular brushing and flossing help keep teeth healthy by getting rid of sugars and food particles that when combined with bacteria form plaque which damages tooth enamel, causes cavities and gum disease. In addition to brushing and flossing research is now showing that there are certain foods that may be good for teeth and promote oral health. These 8 foods are:
Tea – Polyphenols found in black and green teas slow bacteria growth which causes cavities and gum disease. The study also showed that tea especially black tea helps fight bad breath.
Cranberries – Like tea cranberries contain polyphenols which may keep plaque from sticking to teeth however the cranberries must be unsweetened in order for this to be successful.
Raisins – Raisins are naturally sweet and do not contain sugar which causes bacteria to stick to tooth surface and produce plaque. Raisins are also a source of phytochemicals which may kill cavity causing plaque bacteria. They also contain a source of compounds that stifle the growth of bacteria associated with gum disease.
Milk – Drinking a glass of milk “after” consuming a sweet dessert like chocolate cake or eating dry, sugar sweetened cereals, lowers acid levels in the mouth thus neutralizing some of the acid produced by the plaque bacteria. However, if you add milk to sweetened cereals the milk than becomes syrup like and thus bad for the teeth.
Cheese – Unlike milk or sugar free yogurt cheddar cheese has lower acid levels neutralizing plaque acid. Chewing versus drinking also increases saliva production which washes out bacteria in the mouth.
Crunchy Foods – Foods such as carrots, apples and cucumbers require serious chewing which in turn disturbs dental plaque thus serving as a cleansing mechanism clearing bacteria away.
Sugarless Gum – Chewing as mentioned increases saliva production thus clearing away some bacteria. Key here is the Sugarless Gum.
Vitamin Rich Foods – Calcium containing foods like cheese, almonds and leafy greens as well as phosphorous rich foods such as meat, eggs and fish, can help to keep tooth enamel healthy and strong by redepositing minerals back into the enamel. Calcium is also good for bones including those in your jaw.