Keeping your teeth healthy can easily be worked into your mealtime routine.
While regular brushing, flossing, and checkups with your Elk Grove Village and Melrose Park dentist Dr. Scott Szatkowski help to eradicate bacteria and decay from your teeth, you can also boost your dental health just by eating certain foods. These "functional foods," as they're called, not only provide your body with nourishment, they also promote oral health. Here is how:
Freshen your breath with fruit
Sugary snacks can be delicious, but that refined sugar acts as a magnet for bacteria in the mouth by helping it stick to tooth enamel. Raisins, however, are naturally sweet - they don't contain table sugar like other snacks do. They also contain phytochemicals that defend the body against bacteria. Cranberries are a good source of polyphenols, compounds that slow the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. These defend not only against decay, but also against bad breath. However, because cranberries have such a tart taste, many mass-produced cranberry snacks and drinks contain a lot of sugar to counteract that tartness.
Teeth love tea
Black tea is also an excellent source of polyphenols. A recent study done at the University of Chicago found that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea had accumulated less plaque on their teeth than those who had rinsed with only water. It was speculated that the natural properties of tea helped to prevent bacteria from clumping together. Daily tea drinking can cause staining, however, so it's important to brush regularly in addition to enjoying this beneficial beverage.
Dairy for dentition
Good news for cheese lovers: another study found that people who ate cheddar cheese were found to have a lower pH level in their mouths than those who had sugar-free yogurt or milk. This particular dairy product is thought to neutralize the acid that plaque contains. Just the act of chewing the cheese is also helpful; chewing promotes the production of saliva, which rinses away bacteria.
Don't discount milk, however - it contains the same acid-reducing properties, just to a lesser degree. The calcium and other vitamins in milk also help maintain tooth structure.
Talk with your Elk Grove Village and Melrose Park dentist Dr. Scott Szatkowski at your next appointment to learn more about what foods to enjoy - and what foods to avoid - in order to keep your teeth healthy and clean.