You use your teeth to eat, but now is time to eat FOR your teeth! Improving and maintaining total-body health begins with a commitment to improve oral health. Health of the teeth and gums has been linked to more serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Moreover, strengthening the teeth and gums is the best way to prevent oral maladies such as gingivitis, cavities, periodontal disease, bad breath and tooth loss.
Fortifying your diet with these six super foods can increase overall health and help reduce infections by protecting your mouth from harmful bacteria, balancing the mouth’s pH levels and providing the proper vitamins and minerals for strengthening oral health functions. Hopping on the treadmill for 30 minutes is just the start of redefining your whole-body wellness. Maximize your oral health and total body wellness by incorporating these six super foods into your diet!
Cheese is high in calcium, which is important for maintaining bone density. What is also an amazing and lesser known fact about cheese is the high phosphate content, which helps balance the pH level in the mouth. Balancing the mouth’s pH level is very important for preserving tooth enamel and preventing cavities and gum disease.
Pro tip: Diet experts have both lauded cheese for its benefits, and dismissed cheese for its high fat content. As with any dietary modification, moderation and balance is key for achieving results.
2. Sweet potatoes
This potato packs a strong dose of vitamin A, which is very important for the health of teeth and gums. Vitamin A maintains the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. The vitamin is also vital in maintaining the protein keratin, an agent that promotes formation of tooth enamel.
Pro-tip: Sweet potatoes can be baked, fried, mashed, steamed or boiled to your preference. Though sweet potatoes tinge on the sweet side, sweet potatoes are great in savory dishes, and can be substituted for white or red potatoes in soup, roast and stew recipes.
3. Shiitake mushrooms
These mushrooms pack a bold flavor, and also boast grand anti-microbial properties that fight tooth decay. Researchers from the Pediatric Caries Research Program – School of Dentistry found that shitake mushrooms contain a poly-saccharide called lentinan, which prevents the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Lentinan has also been touted for its immune boosting properties, and for use in treatment of cancer and HIV.
Shiitake mushrooms are traditionally used in Asian cooking, however they are pretty versatile and can be prepared a variety of ways. Eat shiitake mushrooms raw in salads, grill, steam, sauté or stir fry mushrooms with a combination of herbs, spices, veggies and meats. For a Latin flair, these mushrooms are perfect in fajitas or in quesadillas.
4. Green tea
Green tea has a notable reputation for having numerous health benefits, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your mouth can benefit too! Catechins, which are a type of antioxidant, found in the tea help stave off bacteria that can cause plaque, cavities and gum disease.
5. Raw onion
Onions are notable for their antibacterial properties. Consuming raw onions is a great way to benefit from the bacteria fighting properties, and add a bite to any dish. It is also said that chewing a raw onion, or rubbing a bit of raw onion on a sore tooth can alleviate toothache until you consult a dental professional*.
Pro tip: Raw onion can always be added as a topper to your favorite dishes. For a flavor boost try making pico de gallo or salsa using the onions.
*In the case of continued tooth pain, always visit your dentist for proper care and treatment resources.
This tiny, bright fruit is the most super of superfruits, with respect to oral health. Kiwis contain the most Vitamin C of any fruit, vital for the health of the gums. Vitamin C works to strengthen the collagen in the gum tissue, which in turn protects from periodontal disease caused by the breakdown of gum tissue.
Remember to always remove the furry outer skin of a kiwi before consuming. Kiwis are delicious as a snack, or a perfect addition to a fruit salad.