Dental health is more important than most people realize. And nutrition plays a big role in this.
While powerful weapons like routine brushing, flossing are good to have in your bacteria fighting arsenal, it’s important to realize that tooth decay and gum disease are still some of the most prevalent diseases in the world. Despite their good habits, millions of people suffer from periodontal (gum) disease.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory bacterial disease in the mouth. Inflammation connects periodontal infection to metabolic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and obesity.
A 2012 study from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland found that Streptococcus gordonii, a common mouth bacteria that contributes to dental plaque, can mimic a blood-clotting protein when introduced to the bloodstream (through, for example, bleeding gums), increasing risk of dangerous clots.
Gums keep your teeth secure, protect your oral bones, and battle against bacteria on a daily basis. While we take care to make sure that our teeth are properly cleaned daily, we can often forget to take care of our gums.
Gum Disease Fighting Foods
Beyond limiting the sugary sweets and harsh acidic foods in your diet, there are foods that are good for your gums.
Herbs, especially minty ones.
Spearmint and peppermint, as well as parsley, coriander (cilantro), eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, and tarragon offer antimicrobial properties that fight bad breath and aid digestion
According to recent research, probiotics in yogurt battle bad breath, plaque, and gum disease by creating an inhospitable environment for harmful bacteria in your mouth. Milk, and other dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt are not only packed with bone-fortifying calcium, but also with the protein casein, which research suggests reduces acid levels in the mouth.
Firm, crunchy foods high in water.
Hard, crunchy foods that contain lots of water are great for your teeth more than one way. First, chewing produces more saliva, which is the best natural neutralizer of the bacteria that causes cavities. Eating an apple can take a while. And that’s a good thing for your mouth. The munching action spurs a cleansing action that shakes up the plaque that clings to gums and teeth. Best options: celery, apples, cucumbers, carrots.
Cranberries and other plant foods rich in anthocyanins (such as blueberries, red cabbage, eggplant peel, black rice, and raspberries) may prevent the attachment and colonization of pathogens on host tissues (including teeth).
If you’re worried about periodontal disease, one of the best ways to prevent it or speed up the healing process is to reduce systemic inflammation. Eating the right foods and getting exercise helps. But don’t forget what your dentist has taught you. Are you flossing yet? Are you brushing at least twice per day? If not, start.