What foods enhance people’s oral health

by Sepi Fatahi DMD

Generally, good nutrition is beneficial for oral health as well as total health. Fill your diet with fresh produce, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. These contribute to a more alkaline state in the body, which defends against bacteria and inflammation.

Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. These contribute to a more acidic state in the body, which increases bacteria and creates inflammation.

This list of 10 superfoods for great oral health will benefit your mouth:

Kiwi. Most fruits contain Vitamin C, which is vital for the health of your gum tissue, but kiwis contain the highest amount. Without Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down, the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.

Cheese. High in phosphate and calcium, cheese helps balance the pH in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.

Celery. As a crunchy vegetable made mainly of water, chewing celery produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria Streptococcus mutans that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth.

Green Tea. Enjoyed for centuries in Asia, green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria leading to bad breath.

Sesame Seeds. High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth & gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.

Onions. Onions have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. They are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked.

Shiitake Mushrooms. These mushrooms contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.

Raisins. Sweet and tasty, raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that inhibit two species of oral bacteria to prevent cavities and gum disease.

Sweet Potatoes. Along with carrots, pumpkin and broccoli, sweet potatoes have high amounts of Vitamin A, which is essential for tooth enamel formation and promotes healing of gum tissue.

Water. Water is as effective as mouthwash at swishing away stuck particles and residue from teeth. It also keeps your gums hydrated while stimulating saliva – the best defense against bacteria.

Nutrition and Oral Health

Nutrition and Oral Health
by Dr. H. Kopel

Along with regular dental check ups and good oral hygiene, nutrition plays a very important role in the health of your teeth and gums. Below is a list of common vitamins and mineral found in a well balanced diet and the role they play in oral health. If a well balanced diet is not possible then consideration should be given to a daily vitamin supplement.

In addition to proper intake of nutrients and good oral hygiene the following can provide additional protection against tooth decay:

  1. Flouride: consult with your dental professional on proper administration
  2. Xylitol: naturally organic substitute for sugar or as a supplement
  3. Remin Pro: topical application contains both flouride and xylitol plus hydroxyapatite (calcium and phosphate) to strengthen the enamel

Calcium—Your teeth and jaw are mostly made out of calcium so consuming calcium on a regular basis helps keep your teeth enamel and jaw strong and healthy. Consuming too little of calcium can put you at risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Sources of Calcium: Milk, yogurt, cheese, beans and kale

Iron—Consuming too little of iron can cause tongue inflammation or mouth sores. The main role of iron is to transport oxygen throughout your body so a lack of iron can also contribute to infections and bacteria build up in the mouth due to lack of oxygen flow in your body.
Sources of Iron: Liver and red meat

Vitamin A—Vitamin A helps maintain a healthy saliva flow that washes away bacteria and other harmful substances from your mouth. It also helps to keep the tissues in your mouth healthy.
Sources of Vitamin A: Beef liver, sweet potatoes, melon and spinach

Vitamin B3—Vitamin B3 helps your body convert food into energy and helps your nervous system function. Consuming too little of Vitamin B3 can affect your oral health by causing bad breath and mouth sores.
Sources of Vitamin B3: Chicken and fish

Zinc—Zinc helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and the build-up of plaque along your gum line.
Sources of Zinc: Wheat, cereal, wild rice, cheese, and beef

Vitamin B12 & B2—Consuming Vitamin B12 and B2 can reduce your risk of developing canker sores, which is a painful open sore that develops in your mouth.
Sources of Vitamin B12: Pasta, bagels, spinach and almonds
Sources of Vitamin B2: Red meat, chicken, liver, pork, fish, milk, yogurt, and cheese

Vitamin C—Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining health teeth and preventing gingivitis. A lack of Vitamin C can cause your gums to bleed and loose teeth.
Sources of Vitamin C: Sweet potatoes, raw red peppers and oranges

Vitamin D—Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium and should be taken alongside foods that are high in calcium. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to burning mouth syndrome, which includes a bitter, metallic taste and dryness in your mouth.
Sources of Vitamin D: Milk with egg yolk or fish to increase Vitamin D intake

Magnesium—Magnesium helps to build strong enamel for your teeth and helps prevent the formation of cavities.
Sources of Magnesium: Spinach, kale, dark chocolate