The teeth are a direct reflection of your whole body wellness, and if you consume a healthy diet, then your teeth and gums will be healthy too. There are certain foods that can be thought of as a double-edged sword, in terms of keeping your body healthy and cleaning your teeth at the same time, and people need a more clear understanding of these items for better oral care.
Most Americans consume a diet that is highly acidic, inflammatory, high in sugar, and pretty much a toxic nightmare. Eating this way causes the blood to become acidic, and when that happens, the body pulls minerals from anywhere it can to correct the pH, but this leaves fewer minerals for bones and teeth.
The average American is significantly inflamed throughout the body, typically because people eat too much sugar. However, certain fats are also inflammatory by nature and the American diet is full of inflammatory fats, which makes matters worse.
Below is a complete and holistic approach to gum disease and cavities and most other mouth ailments as well. Holistic is the key, because for the mouth to heal, the body has to be in good overall health. For the body to heal, the gut has to be balanced and healthy too.
Foods to Avoid For Good Oral Health
Certain foods are a mess for our teeth and gums, and unfortunately many of the common foods most Americans eat today, are types that help destroy our smiles such as:
- Refined Foods
- Acidic Foods & Drinks
- Processed, Packaged Foods
If you eat sweets, find types that clear out of your mouth quickly. That means stay away from lollipops, caramels, and cough drops that contain refined sugar. The good news is some studies have shown that chocolate, especially raw cacao is not as bad as other sugary treats. If you are going to consume sugary foods, do it with your meals. Your mouth produces more saliva during meals, and this helps to reduce the effect of acid production and also helps rinse pieces of food from the mouth.
Beyond sugary treats, you should give up carbonated soft drinks, as they are the leading source of added sugar among kids and teens. Besides being loaded with sugar, most soft drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids that wear away tooth enamel.
If you eat a lot of starchy foods that can get stuck in your teeth like soft breads and potato chips for instance, you need to be sure to be brushing and flossing more.
Watch for substances that dry out your mouth such as alcohol and many medicines. If medications are the cause, consider talking to your health care provider about getting a fluoride rinse, or a fluoride gel for brushing your teeth
Limit between-meal snacks. If you crave a snack, choose something nutritious and good for the teeth such as nuts & seeds. Sesame seeds are especially good at reducing plaque and at helping build tooth enamel. They are also very high in calcium.
Drinking more water can help prevent tooth decay, because water cleans the mouth and helps produce saliva that deposits essential minerals into the teeth. It keeps gums hydrated and washes away particles. Also, get into a routine where you brush your teeth twice and floss once a day.
Natural Tips That Provide Excellent Oral Health
To promote oral health, we need to be eating more whole, raw produce such as vegetables & fruit, however there are other foods that heal. Below you will find the list of “Good Guys” in for fighting tooth decay.
Fiber-Rich Fruits & Vegetables
Foods with fiber stimulate saliva flow, which is a natural defense against cavities. Not only does saliva wash away food particles and clean your mouth, about 20 minutes after you eat something, saliva begins to neutralize the acids attacking your teeth. Opt for crisp fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, celery, brown rice, quinoa, and legumes.
The calcium, phosphates and vitamin D in cheese, milk, plain Greek yogurt, kefir and other dairy products are important minerals for the health of your teeth. The teeth are made mostly of calcium, and without enough in your diet, you risk developing tooth decay and other issues. An added benefit is that the calcium in these foods mixes with plaque and sticks to teeth, protecting them from acids that cause decay, while also helping to rebuild tooth enamel. You can get plenty of calcium from foods like Oranges, collard greens, Broccoli, kale, Edamame, Bok Choy, Figs, Sardines, Salmon, Okra, Tofu & almonds.
Green & Black Teas
Tea contains compounds like antioxidants that interact with plaque and either kill or suppress bacteria, which prevents them from producing tooth-destroying acid. This not only helps to prevent cavities, but also reduces inflammation and the chances of gum disease.
Sugarless Chewing Gum
Chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help remove harmful acid off your teeth. Sugarless gum containing xylitol has been shown to have decay-preventive qualities, as research indicates that xylitol helps inhibit the growth of oral bacteria that causes cavities.
Eat For A Healthy Gut
It is extremely difficult to have good oral health and poor gut health. Anyone with serious mouth problems should consider a detoxification protocol that repairs the gut, kills Candida and other parasites, and balances the gut microbes. Good health starts in the gut, and so does bad health.
Start with learning and consuming more prebiotic & probiotic power foods. A food that is prebiotic contains mostly fiber, that gut bacteria feed on, which produces fermentation by-products that benefit our health. Here are some of the most potent prebiotic foods:
- Burdock root
- Cereal grains (whole wheat, barley, rye)
- Chicory root
- Greens (especially dandelion greens)
- Jerusalem artichoke
Probiotic Power Foods are prepared by putting them in a slow cooker or a mason jar or otherwise letting the bacteria ferment the food naturally. Common bacteria, like lactobacilli, break down the sugars into acids, preserving the food and imparting a salty, tangy flavor. Fermented foods can provide fiber for our gut bacteria as well as more GOOD bacteria. Here are some of the most potent probiotic foods:
- Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, carrots, green beans, beets, lacto-fermented pickles, traditional cured Greek olives)
- Fermented soybeans (miso, natto, tempeh)
- Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, cheese)
- Cultured nondairy products (yogurts and kefirs made from organic soy, coconut, etc.)
- Fermented grains and beans (lacto-fermented lentils, chickpea, miso, etc.)
- Fermented beverages (kefirs and kombuchas)
- Fermented condiments (raw apple cider vinegar)
Oil pulling has been around for a long time and involves swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Traditionally, sesame oil was used, but these days, coconut oil is recommended. To increase the potency, you can also use essential oils, such as peppermint, cinnamon, or clove with your coconut oil. Tea tree oil and oil of oregano are two good options, but they can get really intense.
- Start off with just a small amount
- Swish the oil around in your mouth (like you would with mouthwash) for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Don’t swish hard, or your cheeks will get sore very quickly.
- When your time is up, spit it out, do not swallow it.
Other Tips For Oral Health
Floss Correctly Every Day
Most people do not floss correctly, if at all. Flossing is imperative for anyone with gingivitis because the sides of the teeth need to be cleaned so food debris doesn’t feed the bacteria.
Ditch Toxic Toothpaste & Mouthwash
There are some “healthy” toothpastes out there, but make sure they do not contain any of the following ingredients like: Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), triclosan, any artificial colors or flavors, hydrated silica or alcohol.
You can also make your own toothpaste by following this simple recipe:
- Equal parts of coconut oil & baking soda
- Add essential oil like cinnamon or mint to taste
- Add stevia (if desired) to taste
For 6 tablespoons of oil to 6 tablespoons of baking soda, add 10-15 drops of essential oil. Try peppermint, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, lemon, orange, rosemary or any others or any combination that sounds good to you. These essential oils provide more than taste, they also add other health benefits, so experiment with combinations.
Stop or Reduce Smoking
Smoking anything like tobacco or marijuana can be very harmful to the mouth. So is vaporizing, but not as much so. If you have gum disease, but you continue to smoke regularly, the best you can hope for with this regimen is for things to stay the same and not get worse. Those who do this and continue to smoke, may notice that their mouth does not getting any worse, generally symptoms will improve, but their mouths may not completely heal.