March is National Nutrition Month. As we hit the stride of the New Year, here are a few foods to help you smile a little brighter and healthier.
Often when people think of carrots and health they jump straight to the idea that carrots help your eye-sight. Although not as widely known, carrots also help your “eye-teeth”. The carrot has crunch and texture helping act as nature’s toothbrush wiping away plaque that sticks to our teeth and gums. Crunchy vegetables like carrots also help produce significant amounts of saliva which bring in healthy enzymes and minerals to help protect our teeth.
Researchers have recently shown that among dairy products, cheese may be the best for your choppers. In a study comparing milk, yogurt, and a control test group, cheese came through as the winner in effectively lowering pH in the mouth after consumption at various time intervals. A lower pH means lower acid content which can be protective of our tooth enamel.
While more of a spice than a food, Turmeric has been shown to combat dental plaque, gum inflammation, and microbial colonies. Several studies have also linked turmeric to reductions in oral cancer cells. While I would not jump to trading in your traditional over the counter homecare products for turmeric toothpaste, there is certainly a place for this golden spice as an additive to prepared dishes or even in a healthy smoothies.
If you don’t live in a sunny area, most adults are fairly deficient in vitamin D. Fatty fish like salmon contain high amounts of vitamin D without the negative side effects of the sun’s rays. Vitamin D is critical for helping your body absorb calcium from your diet. Vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand to contribute to healthy mineralization of your teeth.
Want fresh breath – try green tea. Polyphenols found in green tea have been shown to kill bacteria and suppress their byproducts leading to improved breath freshness. One study has shown that green tea had a better effect on breath freshness than mints or gum. Green tea also contains a host of other antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and promote healthy gums. Use fluoridated water to steep your next green tea for an added healthy tooth bonus!