February 7, 2019
You probably already know that certain foods can help or hinder your overall health, but did you know that there are certain foods that are actually good for your mouth? It’s true! This February, which is National Gum Disease Awareness Month, take an opportunity to learn more from your dentist about these 5 foods that can actually help you protect your gum health.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that is found in the gums. Basically the bacteria in plaque, the white and sticky substance that forms in your mouth, create acids that irritate the gums. If left untreated, these acids can cause a lot of problems, ranging from the more mild (minor bleeding, bad breath, and receding gums) to the more severe (permanent damage to teeth’s supporting tissue and bone and tooth loss). In addition, gum disease has been linked to many medical conditions, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer. By keeping plaque and bacteria under control, you can help prevent gum disease from inflicting harmful effects on your oral and overall health.
5 Gum-Friendly Foods
Onions neutralize and specifically target the oral bacteria responsible for gum disease and tooth decay with their microbial properties. Luckily, there are many kinds of dishes, including salads, sandwiches, burgers, stir fries, soups, stews, and chilis, that you can easily add onions.
Celery, Carrots, and Apples
Crunchy fruit and vegetables—like celery, carrots, and apples—help to scrub away plaque and other food particles from your teeth. In between brushing, these hard bits of food can help keep your mouth cleaner. These foods also contain a lot of fiber and typically take longer to chew. The process of chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which is great at rinsing your mouth of bacteria, plaque, and food particles, especially near the gumline. These foods make great snacks between meals.
Spinach and kale, among others, are loaded with necessary vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, which helps fight inflammation. Leafy greens are also highly fibrous, again helping in saliva production. You can add leafy greens to your diet either fresh in salads or sandwiches or cooked in a side dish or soup.
This kind of mushroom has lentinan, which is an antibacterial compound that can fight the bacteria in plaque. And with all the places in your mouth where these bacteria can accumulate, your mouth needs all the bacteria-fighting backup it can get. You can try sautéing shiitake mushrooms as a side dish or cutting them up for a salad.
Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese
Although calcium-filled dairy products are beneficial for your teeth, they can also help your gums. Most dairy products also contain a protein called casein that can help neutralize those harmful oral acids. You can easily incorporate milk, yogurt, or cheese into your daily diet in meals or in snacks.
In the end, gum disease affects much more than just your gums, and your oral and overall well-being could be at risk if you allow plaque and bacteria to remain in your mouth. By making smart choices in your diet on top of practicing healthy oral habits, you can help take care of your oral and overall health in the long term.
About the Author
Dr. C.J. Landry is the owner and operator of Lapalco Family Dental and has over 30 years of dental experience. He and his staff take a unique approach to dentistry, combining old-fashioned customer service and cutting-edge technology to provide patients with customized dental care. To schedule an appointment with him, you can call (504) 348-0080 or click here.
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