We all know how food choices affect the body, but did you know they also affect oral health? It may not be as evident, but if you were to examine your mouth on a cellular level, you would find a wealth of health information there, often before health problems manifest elsewhere in your body. With that in mind, we’d like to share some dietary nutrients that impact your oral health, and offer some recommendations to improve your diet and your oral health.
Vitamins & Nutrients to Support Oral Health
So what did we mean when we said that you can detect health issues by analyzing your mouth? Well, our mouths contain special cells called mucosal cells, and they generally have a life cycle of 3-7 days. This means that they’re turning over and regenerating frequently, and providing up to date information on the rest of your system. So the first place you’ll be able to find nutritional surplus or deficiency is in your mouth! With this in mind, we wanted to share some nutritional findings that can help support oral (and overall) health.
- Protein, calcium, and phosphorus contribute to strong tooth structure. You can get protein from a wide variety of foods depending on your diet. Calcium can be found in almonds, broccoli, oranges, and cheese, while phosphorus can be found in a number of dairy, fish, and meat products. You could also opt to get phosphorus from certain nuts and beans.
- Nutrients like zinc, folate, iron, vitamins A, C, and D, Omega-3 fats, and antioxidants contribute to the development of mucosal cells and connective tissues as well as immune function. B vitamins support epithelial cell turnover.
- Studies have suggested that low levels of folate are associated with periodontal disease, so make sure you’re getting enough from foods like dark leafy greens, beans, peas, & lentils, or citrus fruits.
- Studies suggest that vitamin D and calcium may also enhance enamel remineralization. To support your usual hygiene efforts and strengthen enamel, snack on cheese, yogurt, tofu, salmon, or milk!
- Vitamin C also has been reported to help collagen maturation, which in turn helps maintain the integrity of the periodontal ligament. For this, make sure to have a share of strawberries, acerola cherries, bell peppers, or citrus fruit!
- Lastly, Omega-3 fats help with inflammatory response in the body. Mackerel, salmon, oysters, sardines, and anchovies have omega-3 fats in abundance. Not up for sea fare? Try working flaxseeds, chia seeds, or walnuts into your diet. Alternatively, you can opt for a fish oil supplement!
It’s important to keep in mind that each of these nutrients might have different outcomes for individuals based on their respective health situations. Be sure to consult a doctor before making any major dietary changes and to ensure there won’t be any adverse effects.
If we’ve gotten you thinking about diet and oral health, make sure to bring your questions or concerns to your next appointment! We are happy to advise you more on the subject and we look forward to it!
It’s true. January is National Soup Month and National Tea Month. And it is also true that we think that is no coincidence.
You’re always looking for easy ways to improve your health, right? And oral health is a significant factor in overall health. So here are two extremely simple ways for you to strengthen your teeth and gums and improve your overall health.
- Drink more tea
- Eat more soup
Here is why…
Many people think that chewy candies and foods with high sugar content are what really harm teeth. Although those people are correct, what you choose to drink also has a significant impact on oral health. When deciding between the many drink options available, one of the best drinks for your oral health is brewed tea. Tea has anti-bacterial properties and fluoride content which may help protect against cavities and gum disease and may also strengthen tooth enamel [insert a picture of tea with this sentence as the caption].
There have been a number of studies done recently that highlight the positive effects of tea on oral health. Research shows that tea has almost no erosive effect on tooth enamel. In fact, depending on the amount of fluoride in the water that you brew your tea with, it can even strengthen your enamel. A study done specifically on green tea has indicated that it has some added oral health benefits due to the natural antioxidant compounds called catechins that are in it. The researchers suggested that green tea is particularly effective in fighting and preventing gum disease because the catechins in the green tea interfere with the inflammation that results from bacteria in the mouth. Lastly, a recent study conducted by New York University Dental Center suggests that black tea may be linked to reduction in likelihood of developing dental caries (or cavities).
So in other words…have a cup of tea a day! But before you do, here are a few important words of advice…
- Don’t add sugar to your tea. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acids that eat away at the enamel of your teeth and irritate your gums.
- Avoid prepackaged, bottled iced teas because they contain citric acid (which can wear away tooth enamel) and high amounts of sugars.
http://www.teausa.com/teausa/images/TeaCouncil-ResearchDocR5_-_FINAL.pdf – visit this link for an extremely informational document that breaks down how tea benefits the rest of your body’s health (including cardiovascular health, cancer risk reduction for a number of cancers, neurological health, metabolism/obesity/body composition, diabetes/blood sugar control, immune function, kidney function, and reduced risk of osteoporosis).
Since the first day we were served solid food as children, we have been told to eat our veggies. “You want to grow up to be big and strong, don’t you?” As a kid, that never really crossed our minds…we’d rather have chips and soda and candy.
But what if we were to give you new incentive to eat your veggies… What if we showed you just how beneficial vegetables can be to your oral hygiene.
Vegetables are of course jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients – these are the key.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has a plethora of benefits for your gums. It helps produce collagen which helps form body tissue, and it also repairs damaged gums and helps the them become more resistant to oral bacteria. Folic acid helps your mouth’s cells stay healthy, and calcium helps with strong teeth, bones, and gums. All these nutrients together help keep gums strong and healthy and control or even prevent gum disease.
In addition to the vast nutrients in vegetables that your mouth benefits from, there are other positive effects to eating your veggies as well. The chewing action alone involved in eating raw veggies strengthens your gums, encourages blood circulation and builds strong teeth. Additionally, vegetables are a key source of fiber, which builds a strong immune system.
So now you may be asking, “how do I know which vegetables to eat to get these nutrients?” Allow us to help:
- Vitamin C: red and green peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and tomatoes
- Vitamin E: Spinach, turnip greens, collards, along with oils (vegetable, seed and nut)
- Folic Acid: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, and spinach
One of the best ways to get tons of veggies at once (especially in the winter) is in a hearty soup! So here are three delicious soup recipes that are packed with vegetables to benefit your overall health, as well as you oral health! We all know homemade soup is no match for that canned stuff in terms of taste and nutritional value.
Green Pea and Chickpea Soup: This soup is exceptionally nutrient-dense and calls for highly affordable ingredients. To experience optimal health, including flexible and healthy bones and teeth, it’s vital that you eat plenty of green plant foods on a regular basis. Green peas are naturally abundant in folate, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, carotenoids, tryptophan, vitamin K, manganese, healthy protein, and a number of other health-promoting nutrients. Get this recipe
Vegetable Soup: Here is an extremely quick, easy and delicious recipe that is packed full of veggies. Modify this with your favorite veggies too – its easy to substitute ingredients with this simple recipe! Get the recipe
Chicken Noodle Soup: Chicken noodle soup can be tricky, because it is not always particularly healthy for you – it really depends on what ingredients you use. May sound obvious, but sometimes people struggle maximizing the health factor. Here are three tips for you that will help give any chicken noodle soup recipe a health kick…
- Use boneless, skinless chicken
- Use fat-free and/or low-sodium chicken broth
- Look for your favorite noodle in high-fiber, whole wheat variety fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Click here to get the chicken noodle soup recipe we love
Happy National Soup and Tea Month! Get out there and strengthen those teeth and gums.