A lot is going on in the month of March: Saint Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox, for example. But did you know that March is also National Nutrition Month? That means it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about how to eat a diet that benefits your oral health. Here are a few examples of different kinds of food you can eat to keep your teeth and gums healthy and happy.
Calcium helps make your bones and teeth stronger and more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria in your mouth (which is what causes cavities). You can find calcium in most dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt, milk, and cheese. Dairy products also contain a protein known as casein, which helps neutralize the acids in your mouth to prevent them from damaging your pearly whites.
Vitamin C helps to optimize your immune system to fight off infections like gum disease. Eat some citrus fruits like oranges or lemons every day to give your immune systems and your gums the boost they need.
Foods that contain lots of phosphorus help strengthen your teeth and help fight bacteria that cause gum disease. Keep plenty of tomatoes, citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, spinach, and potatoes in your diet.
Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach and kale are great examples of leafy greens that are beneficial to your oral health. They are high in both calcium and vitamin C, which fight inflammation.
Often considered a “superfood,” shiitake mushrooms can be found in Asian cuisines. They contain lentinan, an antibacterial compound that fights the buildup of plaque and prevents bacterial growth.
Instead of quenching your thirst with sugary beverages like juice, why not sip some water instead? Water is the healthiest drink for your teeth. It contains zero sugar, so it won’t give your teeth a sugar bath like many other beverages will. Also, it cleans your teeth and stimulates the production of saliva, which neutralizes acids from the foods you eat and rinses your mouth of leftover food particles that could attract harmful bacteria.
Just because National Nutrition Month only lasts for 31 days doesn’t mean you should dismiss these tips at the end of March. Implement these foods into your diet year-round to keep your mouth healthy!
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman has been a dentist since 1990. He currently practices at Mod Squad Dental in San Diego. He is involved in the accreditation program with the prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and focuses on delivering the most cutting-edge dental care. He also is a big proponent of the power of preventive dentistry, including eating a mouth-healthy diet. To learn more, you can visit Dr. Friedman’s website.