The Dental Diet : Strategies for healthy teeth
A list of nutrients is all very well, but when you’re standing in the grocery aisle, you still need to know what actual food to buy. Luckily, you don’t have to do anything special: Eat a mostly whole foods diet with lots of lean protein and fresh vegetables. Avoid most processed foods, especially those that are high in simple sugars.
Take your fish oil.
Want to go for bonus marks? Here are a few foods, nutrients, and/or supplements that may play a specific role in oral health.
Probiotics may help to decrease gingivitis and plaque; bacteria in fermented foods might suppress the growth of pathogens in the oral cavity. One study showed that consuming fermented dairy was associated with less periodontal diseases. Probiotics from any source could be helpful in a similar way.
Cranberries and other plant foods rich in anthocyanins (such as blueberries, red cabbage, eggplant peel, black rice, and raspberries) may prevent the attachment and colonization of pathogens on host tissues (including teeth). Some studies even show that cranberry extract-infused mouthwash improves dental health! Sure, we all knew about blueberries’ superpowers, but who knew that the humble bog berry could give you healthy teeth?
Polyphenols have been known to reduce bacteria and toxic products of bacteria in the mouth. Tea also tends to be rich in fluoride, possibly the most well-known tooth strengthener.
Chewing gum with pycnogenol
Gum made with pine bark or sap has been shown to decrease plaque and bleeding gums. Great-Grandpa’s remedy really works!
A diet that includes soy may help to reduce periodontal disease.
This important amino acid may alter oral pH and reduce chances of cavities.
Coenzyme Q10 is a substance similar to a vitamin. Our bodies need it to produce energy and it is found in every cell. Deficiencies may play a role in the development of periodontal disease.
Echinacea, garlic, ginger, and ginseng
Research shows that these plants help to inhibit growth of periodontal pathogens in test tubes. But human studies are still lacking, so we can’t draw firm conclusions about their benefits.
Whole foods first
Try to get the nutrients mentioned above from whole foods. (Bonus: You give your teeth and gums a workout!) Unless you have a known deficiency, supplements should not be necessary. Keep in mind that if you’re a chronic dieter or you’ve had bariatric surgery, deficiencies are always more likely. Check with your doctor.
The mineral fluoride helps to prevent decalcification in our bodies. In other words, it helps us absorb and use calcium effectively. It also acts topically on teeth to promote their surface health. Fluoride in saliva may help to promote remineralization of enamel. In fact, getting enough fluoride is more important than reducing sugar when it comes to preventing cavities. (Don’t worry. I won’t tell your kids.)
For more information read the full article.