5 Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth and Oral Health

The Diet and Oral Health Connection

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While few of us can honestly say that we love flossing, we’re frequently told how important it is for maintaining a healthy smile.  We all know the role our oral hygiene plays in keeping our teeth healthy, however, the food we put into our mouth is equally, if not more important to get the clean bill of health at your next dental checkup.  

Let’s see what’s on the grocery list for tasty, teeth healthy treats.

Basil

Basil is not only rich in antioxidants known to protect against DNA damage. The aromatic herb also contains volatile oils that have antibacterial properties and may help prevent the overgrowth of harmful microbes in the mouth. 

The powerful taste of basil during chewing represents the first stage of the digestion process that releases these oils into the mouth where your oral bacteria live.  

Eggs

Is there anything that eggs can’t do? The nutrient powerhouses include a host of vitamins including B2, B12, and folate, however, they’re also a source of vitamin D. Not only does vitamin D play a crucial role in bone and joint health, preventing osteoporosis, it’s been shown be a factor in strong healthy teeth.

Research has shown that adequate vitamin D levels in the body may be a preventative factor for tooth decay. Eggs certainly help you smile!

Asparagus

Our mouth is home to millions of microbes that manage the normal processes of our teeth and gums while protecting us from harmful invaders.

While we may eat foods for their anti-bacterial properties to keep harmful bugs under control, our diet is one of the important factors in providing the good bacteria enough food so they’ll hang around too.

However, while they’re beneficial for our health, bacteria feed on types of food that we humans are unable to digest.

Instead, they feed on fibers that are contained in natural plant foods. Asparagus is an excellent source of the prebiotic plant fiber inulin. Containing 5 percent fiber per weight, raw asparagus keeps prebiotic ingestion at its highest, however fermented asparagus is also a great way to feed your oral bacteria too.

Olive Oil  

Diseases of the gums involve chronic ​inflammation processes that occur over many years and can be linked to wider systemic health problems. Olives contain a unique phytonutrient called oleuropein. Oleuropein acts to decrease the activity of the enzyme nitric oxide synthase—another enzyme associated with unwanted inflammation in the body.

While not tested specifically for gum disease, the effects oleuropein may help to decrease inflammation processes that occur in gum disease, encouraging a healthy mouth and teeth.

Ginger

As well as microbes, our own bodies system for maintaining a healthy mouth revolves injecting mineral and antibody rich saliva to flush the oral cavity. When saliva is low, dental diseases are more likely to progress.

Ginger is said to ‘warm your insides’ by improving circulation throughout the body by increasing blood flow. However, it’s also been shown in studies on rats to stimulate the secretion of saliva flow to the oral cavity.

So not only will ginger increase blood flow to your entire body, but could help lubricate the mouth for better dental health as well.

Eating Well for Better Smiles

Your mouth is influenced by every meal you eat, so it’s important to keep your oral health in the best shape it can be by choosing foods that keep your pearly whites healthy and shining!

References:

Balakrishnan M, Floch M. Prebiotics, Probiotics and Digestive Health. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 2012;15(6):580-585. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23037903

Chamani, G., Zarei, M. R., Mehrabani, M., & Taghiabadi, Y. (2011). Evaluation of Effects of Zingiber Officinale on Salivation in Rats. Acta Medica Iranica49(6), 336. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21874635

Hujoel PP. Vitamin D and Dental Caries in Controlled Clinical Trials: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrition Reviews. 2012;71(2):88-97. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0053847/

Omar SH. Oleuropein in Olive and its Pharmacological Effects. Scientia Pharmaceutica. 2010;78(2):133-154. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002804/

Sienkiewicz M, Łysakowska M, Pastuszka M, Bienias W, Kowalczyk E. The Potential of Use Basil and Rosemary Essential Oils as Effective Antibacterial Agents. ​Molecules. 2013;18(8):9334-9351. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23921795

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