With overwhelming evidence that oral health and total health are connected – the mouth is part of the systemic whole – it’s important to understand how food affects your teeth & gums. Food is not just sustenance, not just fuel and certainly not just a diversion. Food nurtures and heals. So the type of food you eat affects your health and wellbeing.
The right foods help you feel energetic, sleep better and prevent sickness.
Generally, good nutrition is beneficial for oral health as well as total health. Fill your diet with fresh produce, nuts & seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. These contribute to a more alkaline state in the body, which defends against bacteria and inflammation.Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. These contribute to a more acidic state in the body, which increases bacteria and creates inflammation.
Here is a list of 10 foods for great oral health will benefit your mouth. But they’re also good for the rest of you!
Kiwi: Most fruits contain Vitamin C, which is vital for the health of your gum tissue, but kiwis contain the highest amount. Without Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down, the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.
Cheese: High in phosphate and calcium, cheese helps balance the pH in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.
Celery: As a crunchy vegetable made mainly of water, chewing celery produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth.
Green Tea: Enjoyed for centuries in Asia, green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria leading to bad breath.
Sesame Seeds: High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth & gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.
Onions: Onions have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. They are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked.
Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.
Raisins: Sweet and tasty, raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that inhibit two species of oral bacteria to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Sweet Potatoes: Along with carrots, pumpkin and broccoli, sweet potatoes have high amounts of Vitamin A, which is essential for tooth enamel formation and promotes healing of gum tissue.
Water: Water is effective at swishing away stuck particles and residue from teeth. It also keeps your gums hydrated while stimulating saliva – the best defense against bacteria.
For more information and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com
Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park