Everyone from your mother to your dentist has told you about the foods that you should avoid if you want to keep your teeth cavity-free and your gums healthy. Sticky foods that cling to your teeth, sugary foods that encourage bacteria growth, and harsh and acidic foods that can wear away your enamel and cause gum sensitivity are all on the list of foods that you should limit or avoid. But good oral health is about more than just avoiding certain foods. It's also about eating and drinking the things that are good for your teeth and gums and can improve your oral health. Take a look at some foods that you should add to your diet to make your teeth and gums even healthier than they already are.
Onions may not be the ideal food to eat on a date, since they do have a strong and unpleasant effect on your breath. But eating onions can also have a strong positive effect on your dental health. Onions contain ingredients that fight off bacteria and microbes, and those ingredients are activated as soon as you start to chew. That means that some of the best bacteria-fighting work that onions can do happens right inside of your mouth.
Onions can kill the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for causing dental problems like cavities and gum disease. Chewing for just two or three minutes can kill off most of the bacteria in your mouth and also help strengthen your teeth. Onions are at their most powerful if you eat them raw, so try adding them to your salads and fresh salsa. If you really can't stand raw onions, though, eating them cooked is still better for your mouth than not eating them at all.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it can also keep you out of the dentist's chair. It's not so much the nutritional value of the apple that helps your teeth, though, as it is the crunchy, rough texture of the fruit and its high water content.
When you eat an apple, that crunchy texture acts as a mild abrasive on your teeth. It helps to loosen plaque and push it off of your teeth. Plaque is what leads to tooth decay, and it's also a major contributor to gum disease, so eating apples can be a helpful way to get rid of it. What's more, the water in the fruit helps stimulate saliva production, which is helpful for washing bacteria and food particles away. Just remember that you should still brush your teeth after eating an apple – the fruit is only mildly acidic compared to some others, like citrus fruits, but it can still be hard on your tooth enamel if left there for too long.
Skip the coffee and black tea and switch over to green tea to improve your dental health. Green tea is often touted for health benefits like lowered cholesterol and increased energy, and it turns out that it's also beneficial for your teeth and gums. One study of over 900 men found that green tea drinkers had superior periodontal health than those who didn't drink green tea. That means that drinking green tea could lower your risk of gum disease.
Researchers believe that it's the antioxidant catechin that's found in green tea that promotes superior gum health. Catechin reduces inflammation and can reduce the chances of your gums having an inflammatory reaction to bacteria in your mouth. Keeping your gums healthy and free of periodontal disease also means that you're less likely to lose teeth later in life.
The next time that you visit your dentist, take some time to discuss your diet. Learning to choose foods that are healthy for your teeth and gums could be your key to a healthier mouth and a brighter smile.