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Franklyn Alexander, DDS
General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Patients Choice Winner 2016

Boost Your Dental Healthy By Eating Healthy

Many people think good dental care just means brushing and flossing daily, but there’s a good bit more to it than that. The proper balance of vitamins and nutrients is crucial to keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as they can be.

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients you can put in your body for overall bone health; that includes your teeth. If your body isn’t getting enough calcium from your diet, your system will actually leech calcium away from your bones and teeth in order to keep functioning. Of course dairy products like milk and yogurt contain high concentrations of calcium, but green foods like spinach and kale as well as salmon and sardines are high in calcium as well.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so it’s also vital to keeping teeth healthy. This means even if you’re getting the proper amount of calcium, a deficiency in vitamin D will keep you from getting the full benefits of calcium. Oily fish such as salmon, kipper, tuna, anchovies and jack fish are a great source of vitamin D.

Magnesium is another essential element for both dental and overall health. It works with calcium to keep bones and teeth strong. Add dark leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, brown rice, avocados and bananas to your diet to increase your magnesium intake.

Antioxidants help to fight tooth decay and periodontal disease by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the mouth and neutralizing free radicals, or unstable cells, that attack oral tissues and contribute to inflammation which can lead to gum disease.

Green and black teas are a great source of antioxidants known as catechins, which have been shown to fight harmful bacteria while leaving helpful bacteria alone. Many fruits and berries are high in antioxidants, such as raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and plums, as well as- surprise- dark chocolate! That’s right, if you suffer from a sweet tooth try indulging in a small square of dark chocolate; the higher the cocoa content, the better. Dark chocolate also contains theobromine, a chemical that studies have shown helps strengthen teeth. Just don’t overdo it- even dark chocolate contains bacteria-feeding sugar.

Crunchy vegetables help keep plaque from building up on your teeth while stimulating saliva production, which helps keep bacteria reproduction to a minimum. Broccoli in particular is wonderful for dental health; aside from the scrubbing effect, broccoli forms a sort of acid-resistant film over teeth for a short time, helping to keep enamel erosion at bay. The stringy texture of celery is great for cleaning the nooks and crannies between teeth. Raw carrots help polish teeth as well as delivering a great dose of vitamin A, which contributes to keeping enamel strong. Apples are another natural tooth-scrubber, and the natural acid contained in apples helps dissolve stains. Don’t go overboard on the apples, though, as they are one of the more sugary fruits. A water rinse after eating an apple will help rid your mouth of any sugary residue.