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Advice about what not to do for good health is easy to come by, but there are some foods and drinks that improve the health of your teeth and gums. The nutrients and acid content of the foods you consume have an impact on your oral health. Make the following foods and beverages a regular part of your diet and enjoy strong, healthy teeth and gums.
Scientists have long known that a diet rich in calcium contributes to strong bones, but it turns out that calcium also protects teeth. Calcium is especially important for children, whose teeth are still developing, and older adults, in whom more of the tooth surface is exposed and who may also take medications that dry the mouth out and make oral health more precarious.
Foods that are rich in calcium include:
In order to maximize the benefits of calcium, you should eat foods that contain plenty of phosphorus, as well. Calcium and phosphorus work together to remineralize the teeth. The best way to insure you are getting enough phosphorus is to consume a varied, nutritious diet.
These foods are rich in phosphorus:
Vitamin D allows the absorption of calcium, and some recent studies have shown an association between oral health and vitamin D levels. Exposing the bare skin to sunlight is an easy and natural way to get vitamin D, and supplements are available. Most people can’t get an adequate amount of vitamin D through food alone, but there are some foods rich in this important vitamin, including:
One of the most important aspects of good gum health is having healthy oral mucosa. The oral mucosa is the mucous membrane that lines the mouth. Because the mucosal cells of the mouth are replaced every three to seven days, nutrient deficiencies are often apparent there first.
Although zinc is a trace mineral, meaning the human body only needs a small amount to be healthy, it is an essential trace mineral. A wide variety of foods contain zinc, including pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and chickpeas, among many others.
Vitamin C is essential for maintaining strong teeth and healthy gums. Many studies have demonstrated that a vitamin C deficiency is a risk factor for periodontal disease, most likely because vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties.
However, because many of the foods that are high in vitamin C also have a high ascorbic acid content, it is important to consume them as part of a meal in order to minimize the potentially damaging effect of the acid.
Water essentially rinses your teeth with each sip, and good hydration helps keep the oral mucosa healthy. Plus, water doesn’t contain harmful sugars or acids as so many other favorite beverages do.
In addition to drinking enough water, snack on crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, and carrots. They have a high water content, which helps limit the impact of the sugars they contain, and they are rich in essential nutrients.
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