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Eating Your Way to Good Dental Health

September 10, 2009

dental healthWe’ve been taught since we were children what types of food are bad for our teeth, but do you know about all the foods that are good for your teeth?  Yes, you can actually eat your way to a healthy smile!

A good diet and dental health go hand-in-hand.  Eating right and getting the proper amount of exercise well benefit your whole body, including your mouth. Raw fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber are especially good for your dental health because they massage your gums and produce extra saliva, which neutralizes bacteria and whitens teeth.  Munching on abrasive foods like celery and carrots may help to naturally remove plaque.

Research has shown that not receiving enough vitamin C can cause the tissue and collagen in your gums to weaken, making them more susceptible to bacteria.  Eating fruits and vegetables that are good sources of vitamin C like strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwis, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and spinach can help to keep your gums strong and healthy.  According to the Institute of Medicine, the average adult needs 75-90 mg per day of vitamin C.  Just remember that you should rinse your mouth with water after eating these fruits since the acid in some of them can weaken tooth enamel.

While they may do a number on your breath, don’t avoid raw onions!  They contain powerful sulfur compounds that can kill bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans that cause cavities and tooth decay.  When you’re done eating them, chew on some fresh parsley or mint to get your breath smelling good again.

Strawberries are good for more than just eating – they can also whiten your teeth!  The malic acid that gives strawberries their slightly tart taste has the ability to remove stains from your teeth.  Just mash a ripe one with about ½ tsp baking soda and spread on your teeth for about 5 minutes.  Be sure to brush your teeth immediately after with fluoride toothpaste to protect your tooth enamel.

While maintaining a balanced diet promotes all around good health, you now have even more reason to eat fresh fruits and vegetables!

image from flickr

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