The overall state of your oral health often depends on your diet. Things like sugar and simple carbohydrates can lead to problems like gum disease and tooth decay. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, can benefit your teeth and gums, allowing you to maintain good oral health.
These foods are beneficial for a couple of reasons. The first is that they are full of nutrients that help support oral tissues. The second is that a lot of fruit and vegetables, when raw, have fibrous skins, which can help remove plaque sitting on your teeth.
Today we’re celebrating National Fruit and Veggie Month by talking about five different fruits and vegetables that can help you achieve healthy gums and teeth.
5 Fruit and Vegetables for Healthy Teeth
Fruits and vegetables will always be better for your oral and overall health than processed sugars and simple carbohydrates. And, fruits and vegetables can benefit your mouth in different ways. Fruits tend to be better for gum health, whereas vegetables are better for fighting tooth decay. Going further than that, each unique fruit and vegetable comes with its own benefits and reasons why it helps your smile:
Apples are great for protecting your mouth from gum disease. Their hard, fibrous skin allows them to help remove plaque from your teeth, as this thick skin scrapes bacteria away from your teeth. This allows them to replicate the function of brushing and flossing. While they’re no substitute for a real oral hygiene routine, an apple will do in a pinch.
Although apples do contain natural sugars, these sugars function to stimulate saliva production in your mouth. This can not only reduce your mouth’s acidity and alter the pH for the better, but this increased saliva production can help wash away food particles and bacteria stuck on your teeth. Just be sure to brush this sugar away at the soonest opportunity!
2. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are also beneficial to your health, though you will need to be careful with them. Citrus acid, like that in oranges and pineapples, will eat away at the enamel of your teeth if left alone too long. Despite that, citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency is actually a reason why many patients develop tooth decay, as this deficiency can weaken your body to the point where it can’t successfully fight off decay.
An alternate to these fruits would be cucumber, which is also high in vitamin C, but lacks the acidity that comes with the above fruits. Its fibrous skin can also help keep your teeth free of plaque and bacteria.
3. Leafy Greens
High in calcium and full of important vitamins and minerals, leafy greens are an overlooked tool in any healthy eater’s arsenal. The most important of these nutrients is vitamin B, which is helpful in treating gum disease. This category includes vegetables like spinach, arugula, and collard greens, all of which can help you on the path to healthy teeth and gums.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
This one requires a little bit of explanation, as this is a name you probably aren’t used to hearing this group of vegetables referred to with. The name cruciferous refers to the shape of the flowers, which contain four petals resembling a cross. Popular vegetables in this category are kale, cauliflower, and broccoli.
This group of vegetables is rich in vitamin C. But more importantly, this group is rich in phosphorous, which is a nutrient that promotes enamel growth. This is because phosphorous helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium. And, because these vegetables are fibrous and crunchy, they will stimulate your gums and promote saliva production, further helping keep your mouth healthy.
5. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables like carrots and celery can help you maintain healthy teeth due to the fact that they are hard and fibrous. A lot of these vegetables are high in vitamin A, which works as an antioxidant to support your gums. And, the fact that root vegetables have a lot of water inside of them helps them keep your teeth and gums clean while you eat them.
One root vegetable to beware is the potato. This vegetable is starchy, which allows it to get stuck to your teeth very easily. Bacteria likes to feed on starches, which then begins the process of tooth decay.
Be Wary of Sugar
The main problem with most peoples’ diets is that they are full of sugary foods. Sugar is very detrimental to our oral health because it tends to find itself stuck to our teeth and gums. In the time it takes for you to brush and rinse it away, this sugar attracts bacteria, which use sugar as fuel to create acids. These acids attack oral tissues, resulting in conditions like tooth decay and gum disease.
The fact is, almost all food has sugar in it, even the fruits and vegetables listed above. That said, the foods above also have important nutrients that balance out this sugar content. To lessen the impact sugar has on your teeth, wait to eat foods higher in sugar until you are in a situation where you can easily excuse yourself to brush and floss your teeth. You can also rinse your mouth with water after these foods, washing away some of the leftover sugar.
Contact Midland Family Dental Care for a Better Smile
The above information will do more than just benefit your oral health. It will also work to make a healthier you. In addition to the above, be sure to attend regular dentist checkups to keep your teeth healthy and strong. To schedule your dental checkup with Dr. Fred A. Puccio, contact our office today.