Our Oral Health is Under Attack: 10 Reasons You Should Arm Yourself with More Fruits and Vegetables
Our mouths are under constant attack – and our bodies are continually fighting against all sorts of threats to oral health, in order to keep teeth and gums healthy. Sugar and sticky, starchy foods that break down like sugar (such as potato chips and French fries) leave bacteria on teeth that are converted to acids. Bacteria is always trying to get the upper hand and cause gum disease or cavities, plus conditions such as oral cancer and various other systemic disorders or diseases can be a threat, too.
The tissues in our mouths are particularly delicate and vulnerable to damage. Saliva is our body’s natural defense – and research is beginning to show that antioxidants in our saliva are crucial to protecting against oral diseases and oral cancer.
So where do we get antioxidants? Fruits and veggies of course!
But antioxidants are just one positive benefit to eating lots of fresh produce. Here are ten more:
- Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, celery and carrots can help clean plaque from your teeth and freshen breath
- A great source of calcium is dark, leafy greens like spinach, cabbage and even broccoli
- Forgoing sugary and starchy snacks for healthy fruits and veggies can prevent risk of decay
- Vitamin C is great for keeping gums healthy, protecting them from tenderness and infections (try pineapples, kiwis, citrus fruits)
- Avoiding processed sugar and substituting it for a natural sugar intake will up your antioxidant levels
- Avoiding x helps avoid diabetes – and diabetics are more susceptible to developing oral infections and gum disease
- Antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies
- Fibre-rich fruits and vegetables (actually all foods with fibre) stimulate saliva production, which neutralizes acids and is a natural defense against cavities
- Vitamin A and vitamin K help strengthen teeth. Tooth enamel contains a protein called keratin, which requires vitamin A to form – and vitamin K plays a role in bone growth and density
- Folate-rich veggies like avocado, asparagus and broccoli can reduce your risk of developing gum disease and gingivitis
See Canada’s Food Guide for your recommended minimum consumption of fruits and vegetables.