Diet plays a vital role in your oral health. Sugar, candy, and simple carbohydrates all contribute weight gain. They may also cause tooth decay and gum disease. A balanced diet that includes servings of fruits and vegetables can help you maintain your oral health for a number of reasons.
For one, they’re chock full of nutrients for healthy teeth and gums. Not to mention, tooth decay is usually caused by going long periods of the day with food particles trapped in your teeth and gums. You can help defend against oral health issues by finishing every meal with raw fruit and veggies, because their high concentrations of water rinse away bacteria.
The fibrous skins of raw veggies and fruits help knock plaque loose. However, some fruits and vegetables are better for your oral health than others.
All in all, fruits and vegetables are better for your oral health than processed sugar and simple carbohydrates. As you’d expect, different types of fruits and vegetables affect your oral health in separate ways.
For instance, vegetables tend to be better for fighting against tooth decay, because they’re more fibrous and have less sugar. Highly acidic fruit, such as blueberries and cranberries, can harm your enamel when consumed in high quantities, but can also be good for your gum health.
Here are 5 great snacks to improve your dental health:
Apples. It turns out that an apple a day might keep gum disease away. Apples have a hard fibrous skin, making them a good snack for in-between or after meals. While it’s not a substitute for brushing and flossing, an apple can help keep your teeth clean after a meal. The thick skin naturally scrapes away bacteria, and the increased saliva production washes away loose food particles.
Chewing the hard skin of an apple also stimulates the blood flow to your gums. This helps fight gum disease causing bacteria. Even though apples have natural sugars in them, they stimulate saliva production. This helps reduce your mouth’s acidity and evens out the pH.
Citrusy Fruits: Pineapples, Tomatoes, Grapefruit, Oranges, and More. As we mentioned earlier, you should be wary of citrus fruits. The citric acid in oranges, tomatoes, and pineapples could eat away your enamel if you let it sit on your teeth too long. This means, sucking on a lemon after a meal isn’t the best idea when it comes to preserving tooth enamel.
However, citrusy fruits are high in vitamin C. Patients with vitamin C deficiencies are more susceptible to gum disease. Getting your daily intake of vitamin C can keep your gums and overall dental health in good shape.
Raw cucumbers are another great fruit to incorporate into your diet, because they’re high in Vitamin C, have fibrous skin to brush away plaque, and their hydrating effects can stimulate saliva production. If you don’t like the taste of raw vegetables, you can try making your vegetables into a tasty meal, like a medley of cucumber, tomato, and mozzarella salad. Studies show that cheese can raise the mouth’s pH to lower your risk of tooth decay.
Leafy Greens. Leafy greens and microgreens are coming into season soon. Keep an eye out for spinach, arugula, and collard greens at your supermarket. They have loads of vitamins and minerals that help promote your oral health. They’re high in calcium, an integral mineral for rebuilding your enamel.
They’re also high in B vitamins, which is an important nutrient for treating gum disease. If you don’t like the flavor of leafy greens, there are plenty of ways to get creative with incorporating them into your diet. For one, you can make a healthy green smoothie, masking their flavors with sweet fruits, like bananas or orange juice.
You can also try adding kale or spinach to a saute or pizza. While sauteing vegetables does depletes them of some of their nutrients, it’s better than not eating any vegetables at all.
Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables. Perhaps you recall how important vitamin C is for gum health. Vitamin C strengthens your immune system, making your body better equipped to fight off harmful bacteria.
Cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli, are rich in vitamin C and phosphorous. the phosphorous found in leafy greens is an essential nutrient for enamel growth because it helps your body absorb calcium and magnesium more efficiently. Raw broccoli is fibrous and crunchy, making it a good vegetable to stimulate your gums and saliva to rinse away bacteria and food throughout the day.
Root vegetables. Carrots and celery are root vegetables that are hard and fibrous, which is good for gum health. If you want to add some flavor to your carrots and celery, you can turn them into a wholesome snack by dipping them in hummus. Carrots are full of vitamin A, another important nutrient for keeping your teeth strong.
Radishes and beetroots are also high in vitamin A. Root vegetables have a lot of water, which can help keep your teeth and gums clean between meals.
While most root vegetables are good for your teeth, you should be wary of potatoes. Potatoes are incredibly starchy and tend to get stuck in your teeth, making them an all you can eat buffet for bacteria. Bacteria likes to feed on starchy foods, which they then turn into acids that destroy your enamel.
Any food with a high sugar content can lead to tooth decay. Almost every food has sugar, even milk and radishes. While these foods are important for getting nutrients to maintain a balanced diet, you should try and reserve food with a lot of sugar until you can brush your teeth, floss, or rinse with water afterwards. Try not to snack on processed flour and other sugary food throughout the day, instead opt for a healthier option, like celery, carrots, or broccoli.
Beyond keeping a healthy diet, another way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is by making sure you visit your dentist for regular checkups. Call Sandcreek Dental today at (208) 525-4780 to schedule an appointment.