Chew on This: The Best Foods for Your MouthMay 16, 2018
Finally the weather is getting better and we are getting a glimpse of summer-like temperatures in Evanston. I’m feeling inspired to get healthy for “bikini season,” but to be frank, diets that require limitations and avoidance of certain food groups are not what I like to advocate to my patients since I lose my audience pretty quickly. But small dietary tweaks and moderation are definitely the keys to oral and overall health.
Recent scientific findings identify certain so-called “functional foods” that provide benefits beyond basic nutrition and may be better for the health of your teeth.
Here are a few teeth-friendly foods that will keep you smiling:
The Journal of General Dentistry reported that adolescents and teens that ate cheddar cheese in a recent study had lower acid levels in their mouths than those who ate sugar free gum and drank milk. Cheese neutralizes the acids in plaque, reducing the cavity rate. Eating cheese with dessert or while drinking a glass of wine helps to combat the acidity, as well as increase the salivary flow that washes the plaque away.
So, for the adults out there – enjoy your wine with cheese!
Compounds called polyphones in black and green teas are found to slow bacteria growth and keep plaque from sticking to teeth. Based on UIC research, tea drinkers in their study had less plaque and the consistency of the plaque was less sticky. Black tea has also been found to fight halitosis, or bad breath. Tea drinking can cause superficial staining, but it is easily removed by a friendly hygienist during a dental cleaning.
It takes a lot of chewing to break down foods such as apples, carrots, radishes, and cucumbers. Not only do these foods mechanically strip the plaque from the teeth, but they also have a high water content that reduces the negative effects of the sugar they contain and stimulate salivary flow. Although crunchy foods are not substitutes for a proper oral hygiene routine, think of them as nature’s toothbrushes.
Vitamin-rich foods such as meat, almonds, eggs, fish, and leafy greens are great sources of calcium and phosphorous. According to the American Dental Association, these foods are found to keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. Food high in calcium helps to remineralize areas of enamel that are weak and keeps the jaw bone strong.
Milk and Yogurt
Recent research points out that drinking milk or eating yogurt reduced acidity more than drinking water with a meal. So, eat your cookie or a piece of cake with a glass of milk since it may have some of those tooth-protecting effects.
Artful Smiles Team is committed to keep you smiling and healthy – we treat the person, not just the teeth! Contact us today to learn more about keeping your smile bright.