Fruits and vegetables promote strong teeth and gums?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
A well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, may be able to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease).
WHAT WE KNOW
Plaque accumulates on the teeth when food resides on the teeth for too long. The bacteria that naturally exist on your teeth thrive off of the sugars and starches that are found in many foods. Foods and beverages that are high in added sugars accelerate the tooth decay process.
Foods/Beverages That Increase Your Risk for Tooth Decay & Gum Disease
- Sticky, chewy foods—candy, caramel, honey, syrup
- Sugary snacks—cakes, cookies, etc.
- Gum (not sugar free)
- Carbonated soft drinks
How You Can Decrease Your Risk of Developing Tooth Decay & Gum Disease
- Keep your mouth moist—drink water, chew sugar-free gum.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet (rich in fruits and vegetables).
- Limit foods with a lot of added sugars.
- Be sure to get important nutrients that promote oral health …
Calcium: Your teeth and jaws are made mostly of calcium.
Iron: Iron promotes tongue health.
Vitamin C: Inadequate intake of vitamin C can lead to bleeding gums.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps your bones (teeth are bones) to absorb calcium.
American Dental Association Recommendations for Good Oral Health
- Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
- Floss between teeth daily.
- Eat a balanced diet, limiting added sugars.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
Fruits and vegetables, along with a balanced diet, have been noted for decreasing tooth decay and promoting oral health for several reasons: many fruits and vegetables are good sources for vitamin C, some contain iron and calcium, and they don’t contain added sugars.
Fruits and vegetables are also composed mostly of water, and water provides a moist environment that is not conducive to bacterial growth. Excessive intake of protein (in meat), phosphorus (in soda), sodium, caffeine, and smoking all have a negative impact on bone health, including your teeth.
Think of it this way … if it’s not good for your body … it’s probably not good for your teeth!
We know if you’re eating a balanced diet that focuses on fruits and vegetables, you can significantly decrease your intake of added sugars. Added sugars have been linked to increase in tooth decay. So, substituting fruits in vegetables for sugary snacks can decrease your risk for developing tooth decay—and a decrease in tooth decay decreases your risk for gum disease.
Keep It Simple …
- Brush and floss regularly.
- Replace carbonated drinks with water.
- Make fruits and veggies part of every meal and snack!