The 10 Best Foods for Great Oral Health

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At Wasson Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we are dedicated to improving your total health through dentistry. Because of the overwhelming evidence that oral health and total health are connected – the mouth is part of the systemic whole – it’s important to understand how food affects your teeth and gums.

Food is not just sustenance, not just fuel and certainly not just a diversion. Food nurtures and heals. So the type of food you eat affects your health and well-being. The right foods help you feel energetic, sleep better and prevent sickness.

Generally, good nutrition is beneficial for oral health as well as total health. Fill your diet with fresh produce, nuts and seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. These contribute to a more alkaline state in the body, which defends against bacteria and inflammation.

Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. These contribute to a more acidic state in the body, which increases bacteria and creates inflammation.

This list of 10 superfoods for great oral health will benefit your mouth. But they’re also good for the rest of you!

  1. Kiwi. Most fruits contain vitamin C, which is vital for the health of your gum tissue, but kiwis contain the highest amount. Without vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down; the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.

  2. Cheese. High in phosphate and calcium, cheese helps balance the pH in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.

  3. Celery. As a crunchy vegetable made mainly of water, chewing celery produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria streptococcus mutans that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth.

  4. Green Tea. Enjoyed for centuries in Asia, green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria leading to bad breath.

  5. Sesame Seeds. High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth and gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.

  6. Onions. Onions have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. They are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked.

  7. Shiitake Mushrooms. These mushrooms contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.

  8. Raisins. Sweet and tasty, raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that inhibit two species of oral bacteria to prevent cavities and gum disease.

  9. Sweet Potatoes. Along with carrots, pumpkin and broccoli, sweet potatoes have high amounts of vitamin A, which is essential for tooth enamel formation and promotes healing of gum tissue.

  10. Water. Water is as effective as mouthwash at swishing away stuck particles and residue from teeth. It also keeps your gums hydrated while stimulating saliva – the best defense against bacteria.