The holiday season is over, and everything is slowly returning to normal. Now is a great time to focus on your New Year’s resolutions. Instead of making general resolutions like wanting to lose weight or saying you want to be healthier, why not get specific and resolve to support your oral health by brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and eating foods that are healthy for your teeth, gums, and bones!
Usually, when you hear about food or drink and your dental health, articles focus on what you shouldn’t eat, so let’s talk about some foods that are good for your mouth!
Foods Containing Polyphenols – Polyphenols are compounds found in natural plant food sources that have antioxidant properties. According to a 2009 article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, data they examined showed that polyphenols may help prevent oral diseases as well as infectious and degenerative diseases too. Studies suggest there are about 8,000 identified polyphenols that can be found in foods such as green and black tea, red wine, coffee, plums, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, elderberries, and dark chocolate just to name a few!
Fiber-rich Foods – High-fiber foods increase saliva production which in turn helps neutralize decay-causing bacteria. Some of the most fiber-rich foods include beans, peas, lentils, edamame, pears, artichokes, broccoli, avocados, and flaxseed, but there are many more to suit every taste.
Dairy or Foods High in Natural Calcium – If you eat dairy products, foods like milk, cheese, and plain yogurt contain calcium and phosphates that may remineralize enamel. Other excellent sources of calcium include chia seeds, sardines, collard greens, spinach, kale, almonds, and tofu.
Crunchy Vegetables – Raw, crunchy foods like carrots, apples, and celery are like nature’s scrubbin’ bubbles for the mouth. Chewing them not only stimulates saliva flow but chewing them creates a scrubbing action that helps remove plaque from the exposed surfaces of the teeth. While it won’t replace regular brushing and flossing, they are a smart choice when you don’t have a brush handy.
Shiitake Mushrooms – Some studies suggest that shiitake mushrooms, specifically their natural sugar called lentinan, helps prevent mouth bacteria from forming plaque and may remineralize teeth. Lentinan has also been studied in Japan for its cancer-fighting properties.
While no food can replace regular professional cleanings and exams, these suggestions may help prevent decay and plaque buildup between visits as well as improve your overall health. Now that’s a resolution worth sticking to!