Some of the best foods for healthy teeth are fresh fruits and veggies because of their nutritional and mouth health benefits. Crisp fruits and raw vegetables, like apples, carrots and celery, help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath. Many fruits and vegetable contain lots of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, that help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection. For healthy teeth and gums this summer, look for these fruits and veggies in your local grocery or farmers market.
Nuts are full of health benefits for your teeth. They are packed with tons of important elements like calcium and phosphorus. Especially beneficial are almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews, which help to fight bacteria that lead to tooth decay. For instance, peanuts are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, and almonds offer good amounts of calcium, which is beneficial to teeth and gums. Cashews are known to stimulate saliva and walnuts contain everything from fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc.
Most meats offer some of the most important nutrients mentioned above, and chewing meat produces saliva. And more saliva is good, because it decreases acidity in your mouth and washes away particles of food that lead to decay. Red meat and even organ meats are especially beneficial. Fatty fish (like salmon), and tofu are loaded with phosphorus, an important mineral for protecting tooth enamel.
Heard of polyphenols? Polyphenols are a category of chemicals that naturally occur in many of the foods and drinks we consume, including teas and coffee. They offer several health benefits, including their role as antioxidants, which can combat cell damage, as well as their effects on reducing inflammation and helping to fight cancer. Green and black teas are rich in polyphenols and offers a number of other health benefits.
Cranberries are also rich in polyphenols (just like tea) and provide antioxidant benefits. Fresh cranberries are especially effective at disrupting the process of plaque formation. Just be aware that some packaged dried cranberries contain a lot of added sugar that isn’t so good for teeth.
There is a long-held perception that raisins promote cavities. However, one study suggests that compounds in raisins may actually fight tooth decay. Phytochemicals are antioxidants found in plants. One of the five phytochemicals the study identified in raisins is oleanolic acid. In the study, oleanolic acid inhibited the growth of two species of oral bacteria: Streptococcus mutans, which causes cavities, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease.
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