It is no mystery that foods play an active role on dental health. Sugary foods can increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay significantly. If left ignored, this can lead to gum disease or loss of teeth. Studies also indicate that dental problems have an impact on heart disease and diabetes. However, dental problems are easily preventable. Following proper oral hygiene such as brushing twice daily, flossing and using a medicated mouthwash can prevent dental problems by preventing bacteria from building up plaque. Plaque is a layer of bacteria that is formed on the teeth. The bacteria present in the plaque break down sugars to produce acid which destroys the enamel layer of the teeth and causes cavities.
Foods for healthy teeth
A growing body of research suggests that certain foods may be beneficial for the teeth. Studies find that antioxidants and other nutrients present in fruits, vegetables and nuts may improve the immunity and help the body in fighting bacteria and inflammation, all of which are essential for good dental health. Certain foods are particularly effective in helping the mouth to fight against cavity causing bacteria. Here are eight foods that are beneficial for your teeth.
Milk and dairy products. Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. Teeth are made of calcium and therefore a constant supply of calcium is needed for them to stay healthy. If the diet is deficient in calcium, it can result in weak teeth and bones. Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption. If your body is deficient in vitamin D, it will not be able to absorb calcium even if calcium rich foods are taken. You can also get adequate amounts of vitamin D from about half an hour of sun exposure twice a week.
Tea. Tea contains biochemicals known as polyphenols which act against bacteria and prevent cavities and gum disease. Black and green teas are particularly beneficial as they contain more polyphenols. Tea also affects the ability of bacteria to clump together. Further, polyphenols present in the suppress the genes of bacteria and control production of smelly compounds. Therefore, tea helps in preventing halitosis or bad breath. Rinsing your mouth with black tea for about one minute 3 to 4 times every day can significantly reduce the size and stickiness of plaque and prevent dental problems. Tea also contains antioxidants which are beneficial for the immune system.
Cheese. Studies find that people who eat more cheddar cheese have lower acid levels in their mouths. Eating cheese also increases saliva production which washes away bacteria and prevents them from building up. Further, cheese also releases chemical compounds that form a protective layer on the teeth and protect it against acid that erodes the enamel. Therefore, cheese is beneficial for dental health.
Eggs. Egg yolk contains calcium and vitamin D, both of which are beneficial for the teeth. Eggs are also a good source of phosphorus which is needed for healthy teeth. In fact, eggs are considered to be nutritional powerhouses and contain all the fat soluble vitamins as well as many other vitamins and minerals. They are good sources of trace minerals such as molybdenum, iron and zinc which contribute to healthy teeth.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables. Crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, cucumbers and carrots are beneficial for the teeth. Chewing crunchy foods physically disturbs the dental plaque and prevents it from building up. Crunchy foods also clean the teeth. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in dietary fiber which is beneficial for the digestive system. However, keep in mind that not all crunchy foods are beneficial. Snacks such as chips, crackers and pretzels are not beneficial for your teeth and should be avoided.
Cranberries. Cranberries contain high-molecular polyphenols which inhibit acid production and formation of films by bacteria. Additionally, the polyphenols present in cranberries also reduce inflammation and the activities of proteolytic enzymes which cause periodontal disease. Studies indicate that cranberries make it difficult for cavity causing bacteria to cling to tooth surfaces. Due to all these reasons, taking cranberry juice regularly is beneficial for your teeth. Cranberry juice also prevents urinary tract infections.
Raisins. It is a long-held perception that raisins may be harmful to the teeth. However, a recent study indicates that raisins actually fight tooth decay. Even though raisins are sweet, they contain mostly fructose and glucose and are low in sucrose, which is believed to increase the risk of dental cavities. Raisins also contain certain chemicals which prevent the growth of oral bacteria that are responsible for cavities and gum disease.
Chewing gum. Chewing gum increases saliva production and mechanically cleans away some of the bacteria. As mentioned earlier, increased saliva production reduces bacterial growth and prevents dental cavities. It is advisable to chew sugarless gum. The right time to chew gum would be immediately after meals or taking foods containing sugar.