Your teeth might get all the attention, but your gums play a vital role in your smile as well as your overall oral health. Not only to they hold the teeth in place, but they also protect oral bones and fight against harmful bacteria. If these important tissues can become infected, you could suffer from devastating consequences such as tooth loss. Since February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to start giving your gums the attention they deserve – and that means choosing foods that keep them healthy. Here are 5 foods your dentist might recommend making a regular part of your meals.
1. Leafy Greens
There’s a good reason why your parents and teachers always told you to eat your vegetables. Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens are filled with vitamin C, which can reduce inflammation in your mouth and help your body produce more red blood cells. This makes it easier for your body to fight back against the damage that bacteria can do to your gums. Also, since leafy greens require a lot of chewing, they encourage your mouth to create more of the saliva that can wash away bacteria and plaque.
Putting onions in your sandwich or on a salad can go a long way towards keeping your mouth healthy. The sulfur compounds in this vegetable that gives it its unique taste and smell can kill various strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Because the mouth is dark and damp, it’s normally an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, but eating onions on a regular basis can help change that.
3. Green Tea
A nice hot cup of tea can be soothing, and some research shows that it can also help the gums fight the inflammation caused by gum disease. Said inflammation is also thought to be connected to heart problems and other health issues throughout the body. Drinking a cup of green tea once a day could give your gums a much-needed boost that helps you avoid problems later on.
4. Shiitake Mushrooms
The bacteria responsible for forming plaque in the mouth tend to breed between the teeth and other areas that you can’t reach easily with your toothbrush. Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound that can help kill these bacteria – particularly useful for spots that you haven’t been able to reach during your oral hygiene routine.
5. Celery, Carrots, and Apples
In addition to boosting saliva production, crunchy fruits and vegetables act something like natural toothbrushes, scraping away food and plaque that has become stuck on the teeth.
These are just a few ideas; your dentist might suggest other gum-friendly foods you can easily add to your diet. Plan your meals carefully so that you can keep your grin safe!
About the Author
Dr. Megan Shelton earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry; she’s known she’s wanted to be a dentist since a very young age and enjoys helping families in the Carlsbad area. At her practice, Polished General Dentistry, she can help diagnose and treat even severe cases of gum disease.