Everyone, including Dr. Loev sometimes gets tired of hearing/saying brush, floss and limit staining agents such as wine, tea and coffee for a brighter, healthier smile. We thought that it might be fun to explore and present some additional helpful ingredients that you might just have laying around the house that can help improve the health of your smile and keep it sparkling and healthy. These items can be a supplement to your regular oral health routine. Yes, BRUSHING, FLOSSING and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings are still a must for keeping your teeth and gums their healthiest but these ingredients can help.
Cheese is a tooth protecting superhero. Eating cheese helps protect teeth in many ways. Consumption of cheese stimulates rapid production of saliva that cleanses teeth and helps maintain a healthy pH level. Saliva is the body’s way of neutralizing acids and washing away debris. Cheese also leaves a protective coating on teeth further protecting them from acids.
Calcium, Phosphates and Vitamin D
Calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus all play a vital role in the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth and gums in both children and adults.
Calcium plays a role in making the jaw bones healthy and strong to hold the teeth in place. However, calcium needs phosphorus to maximize its bone strengthening benefits. Children’s teeth need adequate calcium and phosphorus to form a hard structure during growth.
Vitamin D regulates the body’s balance of calcium and phosphorus and can promote absorption. Vitamin D can also help to decrease inflammation of gums which is associated with periodontal (gum) disease.
A healthy diet is essential for healthy teeth. The table below shows just some of the foods that contain calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus.
Calcium: Dairy foods such as yogurt, cheese, brown rice, oranges, cabbage, beans, broccoli, salmon and peas.
Vitamin D: Natural sunlight, dairy products, eggs, some cereals, and oily fish
Phosphorus: Cereals, wheat germ, soya beans, almonds and other nuts, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, grapes, citrus fruit, cucumbers, tomatoes.
Coconut oil has gained recent popularity as way to help keep the body (and the teeth) healthy. There is a trend known as “oil pulling“, where people swish with a liquid form of coconut oil for 15+ minutes, and it is said to have wonderful antibacterial properties. While the efficacy of this treatment has not been proven, it has prompted many to pay more attention to their oral health through the use of natural ingredients. Some may be uncomfortable with this type of time commitment, but it can stand to reason that simply adding more coconut oil into your diet may be beneficial as well.
Citrus fruits, sweet potatoes and red peppers
There are all great examples of foods that are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system which can help to keep harmful bacteria away. Fighting off bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease, and bad breath are the number one way to keep the mouth healthy. Citrus fruits, while very healthy and delicious should be consumed in moderation both due to their high sugar and acid content.
Raw Vegetables & Nuts
We all know that vegetable and nuts in moderation a good for our overall health but few of us think about the fact the high fiber content, and slightly coarse texture of raw vegetables can act as a scrubbing agent, cleaning the teeth as well as stimulating salivary flow. Nuts are abrasive and simulate salivary flow. They help wash away plaque and can also remove stains.
They contain an enzyme called bromelain that can assist in removing stains. The tart taste and acid from citric fruits are effective in whitening teeth and stimulating salivary flow. Caution should be used when exposing teeth to acidic foods as prolonged exposure can cause sensitivity or worse, damage tooth enamel.