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How different foods promote dental health

In the article "Eat right, smile bright," different types of food that can help you keep a whiter, stronger teeth were identified.

By Rac Roldan, C.E.

Today, hectic lifestyles have made it nearly impossible to brush our teeth after every meal. Fortunately, there’s a more enjoyable way to dental health—eating and drinking!

Although they’re the main reason we brush, floss, and use mouthwash, certain foods also help clean and strengthen teeth. It is also important to know that teeth color depends on the thickness of the enamel and dentin tissues. Dentin is responsible for the yellow hue, while enamel turns teeth white. As we age, the enamel wears thin, exposing the dentin below which makes our teeth yellow. Therefore, whiter teeth do not mean healthier teeth.

Chew ’em clean

Foods that can contribute to dental health include:

  • - fibrous foods, which help scrape food debris off of our teeth. The cellulose properties of fiber grind away at tough stains.

  • - green tea, which contains fluoride to promote healthy teeth;

  • - milk and yogurt, which contain high levels of calcium, the main component of teeth;

  • - cheese, which has phosphate that serves to prevent cavity-causing bacteria and promotes the pH balance in our mouths;

  • - fruit that contains large amounts of vitamin C to keep the squamous cells of our gums intact and healthy;
  • sesame seeds and vegetables with vitamin A that help form teeth enamel;

  • - onions, especially when eaten raw, fight a host of bacteria;

  • - lean meat, which contains phosphorus, one of two important minerals that strengthen teeth;

  • - broccoli, cabbage, and lean meat—sources of vitamin K—help deposit calcium in your teeth; and

    - bananas, potatoes, and other leafy vegetables is rich in Vitamin B, which help maintain the integrity of soft tissues in the mouth (gums, tongue, mucosa).

Let’s drink to that!

Experts say that only one beverage ensures oral hygiene: water. Dr. Nina Sioson, a nutrition management physician from The Medical City, adds that water also maintains overall systemic health.

Saliva is also important because it acts as a buffer to reduce acidity in the mouth, which helps in reducing the incidence of dental caries. According to Dr. Sioson, saliva production can be maintained with adequate hydration. Drink enough water each day. Although the general recommendation is to take from eight to 10 glasses a day, this may not hold true for all. An athlete training in the heat of the sun would require much more.

An elderly person spending more time in a cool environment may need less. Check the color of your urine to determine if you’re adequately hydrated. If it is dark yellow or orange, this may mean you have not taken enough fluids for the day.

For more information on how your diet can help in protecting your teeth, grab a copy of HealthToday February 2011 issue.

Food and Fitness - Teeth Health

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