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The Best Foods to Eat for Optimal Oral Health

By Dr. K.J. McLaughlin

Did you know that your diet can directly influence the level of your oral health?

The health of your teeth and gums is extremely important as this area of your health can also have an impact upon the health of your heart, arteries, and immune system. Of course poor oral health also affects has your appearance.

Your lifestyle, including smoking, alcohol consumption, and your diet, can greatly influence your teeth and gums.

According to Christine D. Wu, a researcher at the University of Illinois, there are some foods that can influence oral health in the same manner that the consumption of other foods can affect the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

BENEFITS OF TEA FOR ORAL HEALTH

One of these functional foods that have shown promise is tea. Previous research has indicated that people who consume of various types of teas can reduce bacterial overgrowth in dental tissue and decrease plaque formation compared with those who drank only water. The phenolic chemicals in tea show antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect your teeth and gums.
Foods higher in calcium like lower fat dairy products, almonds, and green leafy vegetables can keep teeth enamel strong by supplying an important source of calcium required for tooth repair. The intake of foods higher in phosphorus like eggs, fish, and lean meats can also help protect tooth enamel from the damaging effects of acidic foods and simple sugars like sucrose.

BENEFITS OF DAIRY PRODUCTS

Dairy products like low-fat milk can not only increase the amount of calcium in your diet but can also protect your teeth. Previous research indicated that drinking a glass of milk after eating a sugary cereal reduced levels of mouth acid more than drinking water or fruit juice. Higher levels of oral acid production from the intake of sugar have been conclusively linked to the development of dental caries and gum inflammation. Products like yogurt can also repopulate the mouth with beneficial bacteria. This can re-balance the mouth with the good bacteria that protect the gum tissue from the damage caused from the nasty bacteria that can multiply following a diet high in simple sugars.

Foods like cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries that contain higher amounts of phenols can reduce higher bacterial levels, fight free radicals, and heal damaged tissue attributed to chronic inflammation.

Cheese has been previously shown to increase the production and flow of saliva in the mouth. The increased production of saliva following the consumption of cheese can reduce the acidity of the mouth following the consumption of sugar. The increase in the production of saliva can also decrease the amounts of “unfriendly” bacteria in the mouth by helping to wash away excess bacterial growth on dental surfaces.

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