Up to 50 percent of adult Americans have unhealthy gums and suffer from associated oral health problems. But don’t let the common nature of gum diseases trick you into thinking they are nothing serious. The truth is quite the contrary. Studies published in several key health and periodontal journals have linked gum diseases to lasting health problems. In fact, adults who suffer from gum disease have been found to be twice as likely (as adults with healthy gums) to suffer from heart complications. The need to maintain healthy gums cannot, therefore, be stressed enough! However, most people fail to realize that healthy gums require more than just oral hygiene. Sure, brushing twice a day (at least), and flossing/Waterpik or rinsing daily are important. But so is eating right.
Top-five foods for healthy gums
Include the following five types of food in your diet for healthy gums:
1. Whole grains
You can slash your risk of developing any periodontal disease by a whole 23 percent, just by eating whole grains throughout the day – that’s what the researchers at the University of South Carolina found in their study. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study found that men eating four or more servings of oatmeal, brown rice, and other whole grains, were 23 percent less likely to suffer from gum and other periodontal problems.
This is because whole grains are digested more slowly and therefore, do not spike blood sugar levels like refined grains such as white rice or bread do. This in turn, causes the body to produce fewer inflammatory proteins, which reduces the risk of heart and gum problems.
2. Green fruits and veggies
Green fruits and vegetables, in general, are great for maintaining overall health. Pears and celery, in particular, are excellent for the health of gums. Celery, in fact, cleans your teeth and gums in the process of being eaten. How great is that? When you bite into the vegetable, it breaks down into fibrous strands that twist, turn and move up and down inside your mouth as you chew the strands, cleaning your teeth in the process.
Pears, on the other hand, boost saliva production and end up cleaning teeth, tongue and gums while you eat the fruit. Any fibrous fruit, in fact, causes your body to produce more saliva. But, what makes pears stand out is its power to neutralize acids on your teeth. A 2004 study found that, compared to other fruits, pears cause the most effective neutralization of acids on dentine surface.
Any tea is, in fact, good for oral health. This is because tea is rich in fluoride and antioxidants, which inhibit the action of plaque-causing bacteria. You can, in fact, cover a large portion of your daily fluoride intake (as much as 70 percent) through your morning cup of tea! Green tea, in particular, has a great influence on gums. A 2009-study conducted in Japan found that the risk of gum diseases can be greatly diminished by daily intake of green tea. The more you drink, the lower your risk of developing gum disease. This is because green tea is especially rich in the antioxidant catechin.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are especially great for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Cheese and milk strengthen your teeth. Yogurt, on the other hand, promotes good oral health overall. It is packed with calcium, phosphates and the antioxidant casein, all of which are great for your gums.
Wait, what? Raisins? It’s okay if you are surprised. Sweet and sticky foods are typically prohibited and with good reasons. However, raisins are high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, which inhibit the growth of a particular genus of bacteria responsible for causing gum diseases and inflammation. Thus, eating raisins can help you keep your gums and heart healthy. A good idea is to have raisins before you brush your teeth in the evening. This way, you won’t have to worry about any side effects either.
Please contact our Miami cosmetic dentists today to schedule your initial appointment. Miami Designer Smiles serves clients in the Miami and Coral Gables, Florida areas.