e may clean our teeth daily as a matter of routine, but often we take our gums for granted. Your gums perform important jobs: providing a solid foundation for your teeth, protecting bones of the jaw and mouth, and acting as a protective barrier against bacteria getting into your body.
However, an ever-present danger is periodontitis – diseases that can wreak havoc with your gums as harmful microbes, tartar and plaque accumulate. Gum infections can also spread to vital organs of your body, including the brain, heart and lungs. At its most serious, periodontitis will require dental surgery.
The most common cause of periodontitis is poor oral hygiene, and your diet plays a major role in oral health. Kitchener’s Sherwood Dental Care says fruit, vegetables and food high in vitamin C are good, but sugar and starches will create a breeding ground for bacteria.
Some foods and drinks are particularly beneficial in helping you to develop healthier gums, and are easy to incorporate into your diet. Here are a few of them…
Milk, cheese and yogurt are high in calcium, which helps to strengthen bones. But this mineral also contains the protein casein, which neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. This acid can erode gum tissue and tooth enamel. Drink a cup of milk daily and eat snacks that contain cheese or yogurt.
Vegetables such as carrots and celery, and fruit like apples, scrape away food particles and plaque that build up along the gum line between your teeth. They are also high in fibre, so they take longer to chew, which produces more saliva. An adequate supply of saliva is necessary to flush out bacteria in the mouth.
Vegetables such as spinach and kale are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, which increases the production of red blood cells and lessens the risk of gum infection. Eating leafy greens also produces more saliva, which, as we’ve already seen, is good for your gums.
Onions neutralize oral microbes, targeting the most common types of bacteria that cause gum inflammation and cavities. Use more onions in your meals. Try them in salads, sandwiches, stir fires, soups, stews and burgers.
The anti-bacterial compound lentinan, which is found in shiitake mushrooms, battles against the microbes that produce plaque. You can sauté them as a side to a main course or add them to your favourite vegetable dishes.
Peppers and Citrus Fruits
Vegetables like peppers of all colours, and acidic fruits such as kiwis, oranges, pineapple and strawberries, contain high levels of anti-inflammatory vitamin C. Include these foods with yogurt, and in salads and smoothies.
Research suggests that green tea can help to prevent infections in the body. It contains anti-oxidants called catechins, which are believed to lessen the risk of gum inflammation.
If you need further advice on oral hygiene, contact Sherwood Dental Care, your Kitchener dental office.