We are from a very young age, told by our dentists to moderate, or eliminate, all processed, and sugary foods from our intake. Processed foods have high levels of salt, saturated fats, sugar, and low nutritional value. These foods are often found to be addictive and problematic for our overall health.
Much rarer, is it to hear a list of foods that actively benefit our oral health. Rather than listing what to avoid (because we know deep down you know), here are some superfoods to look out for that have positive effects on your oral health:
This may sound obvious, but ensuring your mouth is sufficiently hydrated is paramount to good oral health. A healthy flow of saliva is fundamental for reducing bacteria and plaque build-up during the day. A dry mouth can also prevent teeth from being able to remineralise. It is recommended we drink around 2 litres of water a day to stay appropriately hydrated - and keep those teeth and gums healthy.
“There are hundreds of species of bacteria in our plaque, both good, and bad.” (Dr. Spratt)
Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to contain anti-microbial properties that can actively improve the landscape of bacteria in our mouths. The immune-boosting Lentinan found in these mushrooms kills off cavity-causing bacteria, while nurturing the good bacteria. Adding Shiitake to your diet can also reduce cholesterol and support healthy digestion - a superfood for your whole body.
It may feel like snacking on nuts may be bad for your teeth, as they can feel like a nightmare getting stuck in all our interdental gaps. However, unlike crisps or other starch-based snacks - that almost immediately break down into sugars, nuts contain arginine, an amino acid that the good bacteria in our mouth thrives on. Arginine has cavity-preventing properties, making nuts the perfect healthy snack alternative. Nuts such as almonds are also high in calcium, which helps to strengthen teeth.
Raw celery isn’t to everyone's taste, but eating it can be like getting a really natural floss. Crunchy veggies, such as celery and raw carrots, require a lot of chewing that helps to increase saliva production, to keep the mouth healthy. The fibrous strands in celery also help to remove any buildup between our teeth.
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are rich in vitamins that promote healthy teeth and gums. The high content of vitamin C can reduce any inflammation caused by gum disease (without the sugar that often comes with a high vitamin C content). They are also very rich in calcium for enamel strengthening, and folic acid that has positive effects for gingivitis - especially in pregnancy.
Natural chewing gum
Chewing gum after eating can help to prevent plaque build-up by increasing saliva flow to reduce bad acids forming on our teeth. This allows our teeth the hydration to remineralise after eating - even if you can’t brush between meals. Natural chewing gums, like ours, tend to contain Xylitol, a natural sweetener that has been shown to prevent plaque sticking to our teeth and prevent tooth decay.