We all want to eat a healthy diet. We don’t always do that but we know that it’s what keeps us healthy and helps us fight off illness and infection. Your oral health is just as dependent on a healthy diet as the rest of you. And, some foods and the vitamins and minerals you get from them are more impactful to good oral health than others. For example:
Fish oil – Studies shows that regular intake of Omega-3 supplements is helpful in the treatment of periodontal disease and other gum problems due to anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the chances of gum inflammation.
Green tea – Green tea contains polyphenols, which are known to reduce bacteria and toxic products of oral bacteria. Tea is also rich in fluoride, a proven tooth strengthener.
Cranberries – Anthocyanin-rich foods such as blueberries, red cabbage, black rice, eggplant, and raspberries may prevent the attachment and colonization of pathogens on gum tissues.
Soy – Eating a diet that includes soy may help to reduce periodontal disease.
Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is made in the human body and is a necessary component for basic cell function. CoQ10 levels decrease with age and may be low in people with cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease. Having a CoQ10 deficiency may play a role in the development of periodontal disease.
Echinacea, garlic, ginger, ginseng – Research shows that these plants help to inhibit growth of periodontal pathogens in test tubes.
Fluoride – The mineral fluoride helps to prevent decalcification in our bodies. In other words, it helps us absorb and use calcium effectively.
It also acts topically on teeth to promote their surface health. Fluoride in saliva may help to promote remineralization of enamel.
In fact, getting enough fluoride is more important than reducing sugar when it comes to preventing cavities.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a building block for collagen, one that helps to keep the teeth attached to the gums. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that adults who consumed less than 60 mg of vitamin C per day were 150% more likely to develop gum disease than adults who consumed at least 180 mg. Many fresh foods contain vitamin C so it’s easy to get your daily quota. For example, just one orange provides 60mg. If you don’t get your minimum requirement, however, take a supplement. Just avoid chewable Vitamin-C tablets or any kind that fizzes when dissolved in water. These vitamin sources lower the pH in your mouth and erode your tooth enamel.
Probiotics – It is believed that probiotics can help in decreasing gingivitis and plaque by their ability to suppress the growth of pathogens in the mouth. According to research published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, “probiotics are still in “infancy” in terms of periodontal health benefits, but surely have opened door for a new paradigm of treating disease on a nano – molecular mode.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134041/) Probiotics in pill form or any dietary source (such as fermented cabbage or yogurt) could be helpful in a similar way.
What to avoid? Eat a minimum of processed foods, especially those that are high in simple sugars. Also, avoid foods and beverages which are drying to oral tissues. These are those containing caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, colas) and spicy foods.
When it comes to oral dryness, smoking is the worst offender of all. If you smoke, be diligent in your twice-daily brushing and flossing regimen at home. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid alcoholic beverages. Try to limit acidic foods and beverages (tomatoes, some citrus fruits, colas and wine). And, be sure to have 6-month check-ups and cleanings. Those visits help you prevent problems from occurring in the first place or catch those that do occur early so treatment needs (and expenses) are minimal.
We are committed to taking good care of your smile at every visit. Between visits, take good care of your smile and you’ll be rewarded with a savings in time and money for repairs that are preventable.
If you’re behind on your dental check-ups, call 586-739-2155 for an appointment.