At Smith Family Dentistry, our patients ask us all the time how the they can improve their oral health at home. Aside from the normal recommendations like brushing and flossing regularly, we always tell them that what they eat directly affects their oral health. It makes sense if you think about it, because all of the foods you consume pass through your mouth first. Your teeth and gums are often the first thing to come in contact with food or drink. So if you are eating sugary or acidic foods, your teeth and gums are taking most of the abuse.
With the local Fall Vegetable Gardening event hosted by Marleny Franco coming up on September 18 at the Randolph Township Library, we thought it was a great time to talk about the types of vegetables you should be eating — rather than foods you shouldn’t.
Here are some vegetables you can grow in your garden or grab from the local market to help improve your oral health this fall:
Kale & Spinach
Leafy greens like kale and spinach are very high in calcium. This is helpful in building and strengthening tooth enamel — the hard, outer layer of the tooth that protects against tooth decay. These vegetables also contain folic acid, which can be helpful in treating gum disease.
While this might be a tough sell for your children, broccoli is actually very beneficial when it comes to maintaining your oral health. Broccoli is considered a ‘superfood’, and it contains Vitamin C which is known to help boost teeth whiteness and improve oral health. In fact, simply eating raw broccoli can help break apart plaque on your teeth, which can reduce your likelihood of having gum disease.
Much like broccoli and leafy greens, sweet potatoes have nutrients qualities that make them beneficial for oral health. Sweet potatoes offer a large helping of potassium and Vitamin A.Potassium improves bone density, which will keep your jawbone strong and your teeth in place. Vitamin A is essential for salivary function, and it also helps balance the PH levels in your mouth — which ultimately helps to prevent tooth decay.
Carrots are sometimes called “nature’s toothbrush” because not only are carrots are high in keratin — which helps prevent plaque — but the actual chewing action works to massage the gums and remove plaque. They also contain Vitamin A, which as we mentioned before, helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Although there are not necessarily many helpful nutrients in celery that would improve oral health, celery has its benefits. Similar to carrots, as you chew celery, it actually helps to clean your teeth. Another benefit of eating celery is the fact that it can help produce saliva, which helps neutralize any bacteria that might be present.
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