Smiling at someone and having them smile back can really brighten your day and give you a lift, but bad oral health can cause either or both of you to keep your mouth closed and keep those smiles to yourself. That’s a real shame and doesn’t have to be. You can actually have a happy and healthy mouth just by making sure you eat foods that promote good oral health and adopting some good oral health habits.
Foods for a Happy Healthy Mouth
What you eat is an important part of developing good oral health. One of the keys to keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy is to protect them from bad bacteria and from inflammation. Eating foods that keep your body in an alkaline state can help with this. That means lots of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean protein meats and whole grains. It also means staying away from foods with refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, refined flour, and partially hydrogenated oils that raise the acidity level in the body and create an environment for bacteria and inflammation to thrive. There are healthy foods that are acidic like citrus and tomatoes, but you can include them in meals with a variety of other foods instead of eating them alone to reduce the acidity effect. As soon as you put food in your mouth the bacteria that lives there and plaque breaks down sugars and carbs into acids which can break down tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay and cavities. Any type of sugar can qualify in this role so check labels and make food and drink choices that are low in sugar. Snacking throughout the day can also negatively affect oral health as not as much saliva is produced as during eating a whole meal. Saliva helps keep foods out of the mouth and reduces the risk of acid damaging teeth.
By getting the right nutrients in your diet you can help your mouth tissues be less susceptible to infection, decrease the risk of gum disease which is a leading cause in adults for losing teeth, keep teeth strong and reduce the chances of tooth decay.
For healthy gums, vitamin C is an important addition to your diet. This vitamin helps keep the collagen in gums healthy and reduces the risk of periodontal disease. You can get vitamin C in many types of fruit and some veggies, but if you’re looking for a vitamin C powerhouse try kiwi. For forming enamel on teeth and healing of gums, vitamin A is another important vitamin to include in your diet. Good food sources for vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and broccoli.
Healthy teeth need calcium and phosphate to build tooth enamel that has been damaged or destroyed by acids. Cheese is a good source for both these minerals and is good for balancing the pH level in the mouth that can help reduce bad bacteria. Sesame seeds are another good source for calcium helping to keep bone around teeth and gums healthy and in reducing plaque. Other good sources for these minerals include chicken, nuts and milk.
Hydrate Your Mouth
Water not only works well for rinsing your mouth to remove food particles and residue from your teeth, but also triggers saliva to be released and hydrates gum tissues which all reduce bad bacteria in the mouth. Foods with high water content, especially crunchy ones such as celery, also help get saliva going as well as massage gums and help clear away food particles from between teeth. The same can be said for other crunchy, high water content foods like apples or pears. The higher they are in water content the more diluted their sugars will be.
Other Great Oral Health Foods
The catechins found in green tea are reported to help destroy plaque forming bacteria that can cause bad breath and contribute to cavities and gum disease. While eating raw onions may not do so much for breath, they do have a strong sulfur compound with antibacterial properties. Then there is lentinan found in shiitake mushrooms that also cuts down on the formation of plaque. Since sugar is such a big concern in oral health, what about sugar substitutes? These substitute sweeteners are actually not digested the same way sugar is and don’t sustain the mouth bacteria the same way sugar does. That makes them a better choice if you need a sweetener.
Other Healthy Mouth Tips
The most common good oral health tips are ones that you’ve probably heard most of your life. Brush your teeth a minimum of two times a day and waiting half an hour to an hour after eating is the best time. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste, floss every day and see your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Some other important considerations for a happy healthy mouth include taking wholefood supplements that support good oral health. For example, Coenzyme Q10 has been found to support healthy gum tissue as well as heart tissue and olive extracts are supportive of bone health which includes the bone around teeth and gums. You can find ubiquinol which is the active form of CoQ10 and olive biophenols in this algae supplement. Then there’s this algae and mushroom supplement that gives you the power of 5 different mushrooms that have been reported in studies to help boost immune system function and reduce inflammation and that includes maitake mushrooms found to support bone health. And finally, bee pollen which is one of the ingredients in this algae supplement has been found to support bone density.
Start spreading the smiles around by giving your mouth something to really smile about – good oral health. Improving your oral health now will only pay more dividends as you get older and having strong teeth and gums really is something to smile about.
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