Tooth decay is a common issue that millions of Americans face every year and is a byproduct of overconsuming sugary and starchy foods. When sugar mixes with the bacteria found in plaque, the bacteria forms an acid that constantly attacks the teeth. Acid attacks can last for an hour or more, depending on how much sugar is consumed.
The best way to avoid this oral issue is to supplement sugary and starchy foods with more fruits and vegetables. Because fruits and vegetables are filled with antioxidant vitamins, like vitamin C, they help prevent the gums from cell damage and/or bacterial infections. Understanding the benefits of specific fruits and vegetables will help individuals make the necessary lifestyle changes to maintain excellent oral health.
Apples help keep the mouth clean by increasing salivation, which offsets the citric and malic acids left behind after eating certain foods. Chewing apples also stimulate the gums and reduces the bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay. Because apples contain vitamin C, frequently consuming them will decrease the chances of developing gum infections or worse. Other fruits with similar benefits include strawberries, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pineapples.
Other essential fruits to consume are raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries. These fruits are full of anthocyanins, which help prevent pathogens from attaching themselves to host tissues and causing an imbalance. Other compounds found in berries also prevent bacteria from forming into plaque, which ultimately prevents tooth decay.
Chewing on raw carrots and celery also stimulates the gums and increases saliva production, which keeps the mouth clean. Carrots and celery also contain beta carotene, which helps the body create vitamin A – the vitamin essential for keeping the teeth strong.
Consuming dark leafy greens and other vegetables, such as lettuce, kale, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, and chard, is beneficial for teeth and gums because they are all packed with a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Some of the nutrients found in these vegetables include vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
Consuming these fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will help keep the mouth healthy, but it’s also necessary to remember that timing is very important when consuming these foods. For example, because most of these benefits include increasing saliva and neutralizing acid, it’s important to consume some of these raw vegetables after meals. These vegetables will help produce the extra saliva needed to wash away leftover food particles and bacteria from sugary and/or starchy foods.
At McBride Dental, we are passionate about helping our clients maintain a beautiful smile, which is why we offer various preventative care services to keep their gums and mouths healthy. Some of those services include deep cleanings, dental sealants, X-rays, and more. We also offer other treatment services for those who may be suffering from cavities, gum disease or tooth loss. Those services include fillings, gum disease treatment, and dental implants. If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, call us today at (760) 471-1003.