Foods to Eat for Healthy Teeth and Gums
Pictured Recipe: Simple Grilled Salmon & Vegetables
Your mouth is a window into your wellness. And while having a bright smile is nice for pictures, healthy teeth are important for a healthy you. Brushing and flossing, plus regular trips to the dentist for cleaning, are the cornerstone of keeping your teeth in great shape. But foods can help-or hurt-too. Limit sugary candies and drinks and instead reach for these foods forhealthy teeth and gums.
Pictured Recipe: Smoked Salmon & Avocado Toasts
Dig your teeth into foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as canned light tuna (200-500 mg per 3-oz.). When adults with periodontitis-gum inflammation that can lead to tooth loss-took a 300 mg omega-3 supplement daily for 12 weeks as part of their treatment, they had less inflammation and shallower "pockets" (spaces around teeth that make them loose) compared to those who received the same treatment and took a placebo.
Pictured Recipe: Matcha Green Tea Latte
Packed with catechins (plant compounds with antioxidant properties) as well as naturally occurring fluoride, green tea appears to inhibit the bacteria and acid responsible for tooth decay, according to a review in the journal Pharmacognosy Review. The study looked at preliminary data, so more research is needed before suggesting the right dose, but the researchers still recommend sipping unsweetened green tea.
Milk & Yogurt
Pictured Recipe: Mango-Almond Smoothie Bowl
Danish researchers discovered that each daily 3.4-oz. serving of milk drops periodontitis rates by 4 percent. Calcium maintains your teeth's structure, and the "good" bacteria in yogurt may suppress "bad" bacteria that can lead to tooth loss. Bonus: Most milk is fortified with vitamin D (125 IU per cup). A study from the Indian Journal of Public Health found that taking a 500 IU vitamin D supplement daily decreased the severity of gingivitis.
Eating an apple can combat garlic breath. Its natural phenolic compounds act as deodorizers, according to a study in the Journal of Food Science.
Why Taking Care of Your Teeth Is Important for Your Health
Nine out of 10 dentists say that dental and medical docs should practice collaboratively because oral health problems can be linked with other conditions.
Patients with periodontitis have a greater risk of plaque blockages in their arteries, according to a review by U.K. researchers. "When bacteria accumulate around the gums, they cause tiny holes in the gum lining, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause damage around the body," says study co-author Praveen Sharma.
Gum inflammation may be a sign of impaired blood sugar function. A Duke University study found that people with diabetes suffered about twice the tooth loss as those without the disease.
Finally, periodontitis can stem from acid reflux because sufferers often don't have enough saliva, leaving teeth vulnerable to bacteria and acid. Having reflux almost triples your risk of this condition, and also raises the odds of cavities by 150 percent, reported research in the journal Gut & Liver.