Posts Tagged ‘vitamins’

10 Unsuspected Foods That Help Protect Your Teeth And Gums

April 18, 2010

A Beautiful Smile and Healthy Gums always require regular brushing, flossing, and dental care, but a diet rich is essential vitamins and minerals also make an important contribution to one’s overall dental health. We often overlook the importance of good nutrition in keeping our smiles beautiful and our mouths healthy. Here are ten foods that can contribute to our overall oral health:

1. Water – Natures Gift For Healthy Teeth and Gums

Drinking water keeps your gums and oral tissues hydrated and is a great way to stimulate saliva flow. This Saliva Flow is one of your bodies defenses against the bacteria that cause plaque and cavities. Rinsing your mouth with water also helps wash away trapped food particles that decompose in the mouth and can cause bad breath. Water also dilutes the concentration of bad breath causing byproducts of anaerobic bacteria metabolism (see my blog on 10 tips to avoid bad breath). You should always try to drink six 8-ounce glasses of purified water each day to keep your gums (and whole body) hydrated and to stimulate saliva. If you can”t brush your teeth after eating, be sure to rinse your mouth with water.

2. Parsley –A Natural Bad Breath Remedy That Leaves Sweet-Smelling Breath

Chewing parsley or mint leaves aftert meals will help you maintain sweet-smelling breath. These herbs contain monoterpenes, volatile substances that travel quickly from your bloodstream to your lungs, where their odor is released via your breath. Try This: Top zesty dishes with a few tablespoons of minced fresh parsley or garnish dessert with a few sprigs of fresh mint. You can also chew parsley or mint leaves for a change of pace.

3. Green Tea -Helps Removes Plaque and Bad Breath

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) contains wonderful substances called catechins. Catechins kill the bacteria in your mouth that turn sugar into plaque (a sticky mass of bacteria, sugars, proteins, and fats that produces cavity-causing acid when it comes in contact with sugary or starchy foods), that gross gooey film on the surface of your teeth when you forget to brush. Catechins also help kill the the bacteria that cause bad breath. Try This: Drink 2 to 5 cups of green tea (regular or decaffeinated) a day, says Mindy Green, director of research at the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, Colo. She suggests making a thermos of green tea to drink at work. At night prior to tetiring for bed, steep 3 to 4 green tea bags in 4 cups of boiling-hot water in a covered thermos for three to five minutes. Remove the bags. Serve the tea the next day over ice or after reheating it. For more information go to and check our newsletters for more information on the health benefits of tea.

4. Onions – Kill Bad Bacteria In the Mouth

That’s Right!! I said ONIONS. Onions contain powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds. In a 1997 test tube study, onions killed various types of bacteria, including S mutans. Research also shows onions are most the most effective when eaten freshly peeled and raw. The major downside, raw onions can make your breath stink, so be sure to have some fresh parsley on hand (see point 2 or my blog on bad breath). Try This: Add a few onion slices to salads and sandwiches each day.

5. Celery – Protects Teeth from Cavities

Celery protects your teeth in two ways, says Lana Rozenberg, D.D.S., a holistic dentist and founder of Rozenberg Dental Day Spa in New York City. The extra chewing it requires produces extra saliva, which neutralizes the bacteria Streptococcus mutans that causes cavities. Actually, chewing on naturally fibrous and abrasive foods massages gums and cleans between teeth. Suggestion: Snack on a handful of raw celery or carrots once a day to help protect gums and teeth.

6. Shiitake Mushrooms – Prevents from Creating Plaque

A Research Study in 2000 on tooth caries showed that lentinan, a sugar found in shiitake mushrooms, prevents mouth bacteria from creating plaque. Suggestion A few times a week, add four to five sliced shiitakes to soups or stir-fries. Buy fresh shiitakes or dried ones: Dried shittakes are easily reconstituted by soaking them in hot water for about 25 minutes before use.

7. Wasabi – Protect Teeth from Cavities

Wasabi, the devilish green sauce served with tuna steaks, is also known as Japanese horse-radish. This condiment not only adds zing to sushi, it also protects your teeth. A 2000 study in Biofactors revealed that the substances that make wasabi taste hot, called atessothiocy, also inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Eating wasabi a few times a week will protect you from cavities. For a delicious and smile-saving asian salad dressing, combine 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar or sugar substitute), 1 teaspoon wasabi paste, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. (I also sometimes add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Note: this Dijon is also good in plain od vinegar and oil)

8. Sesame Seeds – Clean Teeth and Remove Plaque

According to fossils, our Paleolithic ancestors had great teeth. Anthropologists suggest that this is partly due to the cleansing action of primitive foods like seeds, which slough off plaque and help build tooth enamel. Sesame seeds, for example, are also high in calcium, which help preserve the bone around your teeth and gums .Suggestion: Sprinkle a tablespoon of sesame seeds on salads and steamed vegetables a couple times a week for a gentle teeth cleaning and 87 mg of calcium.

9. Kiwis – Prevents Gum Disease

Kiwis are Vitamin C atom bombs. Kiwis contain more vitamin C than any other fruit their size., Actually, one large kiwi supplies more than 100 percent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C and it tastes good too!. Research shows that a vitamin C deficiency causes the collagen network in your gums to break down, making your gums tender and more susceptible to the bacteria that cause gum (periodontal) disease. Suggestion: Try topping your cereal or oatmeal with Kiwi and fruit instead of sugar at breakfast tomorrow.

10. Cheese – Preserves and Rebuild Tooth Enamel

During the last decade, studies proved that cheese, with its low carbohydrate and high calcium and phosphate content, provides several benefits for your teeth. It helps balance your mouth’s pH by making it more basic (an acidic pH encourages the growth of dental cavity-causing bacteria). Cheese also supples calcium and phosphate which builds tooth enamel and produces saliva, which helps fight the bacteria that cause dental cavities and gum disease. Suggestion: Enjoy a nice mediterean style after dinner treat of fruit and cheese.