Keeping a clean and healthy mouth is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of one’s health. Not only is it the gateway to communicating with others, suffering from oral health ailments can lead to other illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Maintaining a regular regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing, cutting out high-fat foods and increasing water consumption all play a vital role in the health of our body and mouth. However, there are several oral health-boosting foods and beverages that you may not mind adding to your daily intake.
Polyphelons and antioxidants found in dark chocolate can inhibit the growth and spreading of bacteria in the mouth and on the teeth. These substances help to balance out the bad bacteria and toxins that cause damage throughout the body. Plus, dark chocolate contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals that may aid oral health, including iron, magnesium, potassium and copper. Iron is especially important because an iron deficiency can lead to tongue inflammation and canker sores.
“The effectiveness of polyphenols from these beverages as anti-cariogenic agents needs to be confirmed by larger in vivo studies carried out on different age-groups, and in different geographical areas,” researchers from the University of Naples, where the study was undertaken, noted. “Further research on anti-cariogenic activity of cocoa, coffee, and tea could open a promising avenue of applications, since they are relatively safe, have taste and odor largely appreciated and could be used at a reasonable cost in the preparation of specific anti-cariogenic remedies.”
When choosing a piece of dark chocolate, it is recommended to get a cocoa content of at least 70 percent.
Suggesting alcohol for oral health may seem far-fetched, but the American Dental Association has reported that drinking a glass of red wine everyday can not only help the heart, but it can aid in inhibiting gum disease and tooth decay.
The proanthocyanidins in red wine, similar to those in dark chocolate, grapes and apples, have antioxidant properties that help to prevent Streptococcus mutans, a bad-breath-causing bacterial strand, from sticking to the teeth.
Researchers in Italy conducted a study where the alcohol was extracted from red wine and that product was added to cultures of S. mutans. This addition prevented bacteria from clinging to saliva-coated extracted teeth. Similarly, research at Cornell University in New York determined that polyphenols work to neutralize free radicals in the body. It also lessened inflammation of the gums, which may potentially protect against gum disease that can lead to tooth decay and cause bad breath.
Currently, there is not enough research to determine the benefits of white wine; however, some researchers believe that it is too acidic to offer similar healthy effects.
Because of the fat and high content of calcium in cheese, eating a small piece of this dairy product after a sugary or acidic meal may be very beneficial. According to BBC Health, eating cheese not only helps to stimulate saliva flow, but the calcium aids in neutralization of acids and protects enamel on the teeth.
The National Dairy Council also reported that several variations of cheeses, including Gouda, blue, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Swiss and Cheddar, help to inhibit bacterial growth and protect the teeth. Cheese has also been known to battle bad breath because of these properties. The protective nature of cheese helps to disrupt the development of cavities when consumed alone or at the end of a meal.