Certain foods kill mouth bacteria so it would serve you well to include those in your diet. Some of the foods that kill bacteria may surprise you but the science is there.
There are also personal stories from dentists who have seen hundreds of patients and can document which ones have more plaque and tartar than others. Sometimes, diet makes the difference.
Where Are You From?
A dentist looked at a new patient with amazement. This patient hadn't seen a dentist in 20 years but decided to go for an exam after she got a job that included dental coverage. She had virtually no plaque or tarter.
The dentist asked her where she was from. She answered Louisiana. The woman went on to explain her diet consisted of spicy foods, fish, shrimp, gumbos, jambalayas, and lots of onions and peppers.
Onions Eaten Raw
Raw onions are one of the foods that great for killing mouth bacteria. They have sulfur compounds that help do this if you chew them for a few minutes a day.
It doesn't matter which type of onion you eat so eat what you like. Onions have other benefits and have long been known to reduce the risk of things like colds and flu.
Throw some in a salad or put some in things like tuna or chicken salad.
Another benefit of eating onions is they have an abrasive quality to them so they will "scrub" your teeth as you eat them.
Go for Spicey
Peppers, especially spicier ones like jalapenos or habaneros, are believed to cut through any plaque or tartar. Basil has natural antibiotics in its oils that kill bacteria. It's been studied in hospitals where it's shown to be effective.
Spicy things like peppers can also help lower your blood sugar if you are a diabetic. They are also known to improve blood circulation.
Wasabi is one of those spicier things that can help fight bacteria. It's a green horseradish used in Asian food and is a particular favorite with sushi. As it turns out, there is a reason for that. The Japanese always believed wasabi killed bacteria in uncooked sushi. A Japanese researcher tested wasabi on tooth-decaying bacteria on this premise and found it can kill several oral bacteria.
Japanese people have better teeth than those in other parts of the world but it isn't just because they eat wasabi. Japanese culture has a fascination for good oral health and promotes proper hygiene. Also, their insurance covers dental health more than that around the world.
There Is Good Sugar
Just because something has sugar doesn't make it bad. Many foods have natural sugar that helps teeth.
Shitake Mushrooms are in that group. These mushrooms are effective in fighting bacteria according to research studies. The mushrooms have lentinan, a sugar, that prevents bacteria from growing. Bacteria feeds on sugar but don't feed on lentinan so the bacteria can't produce acid that harms tooth enamel.
Not All Tea Is Bad
Green tea was part of a study where its effects on oral health were documented. The study, published in Preventive Medicine, said that older adults could prevent tooth loss by drinking one cup of tea daily.
Black tea offers some of the same effects. Both have polyphenols, a compound that slows the growth of oral bacteria and can even control bad breath. Catechins are also in green tea and that kills bacteria that cause plaque.
However, these are specific teas. Not all tea falls into the same helpful category. Regular iced tea, for instance, doesn't have the same health benefits as these two teas.
Other Teeth-Friendly Foods
Kiwis are a fruit you want to put into your diet for oral health. It has the highest amount of Vitamin C, which promotes healthy gums. Vitamin C improves and strengthens collagen in your gums and they can become tender and start breaking down without it.
Cheese is another food to keep on hand because it's high in calcium and phosphate. Cheese neutralizes mouth acid and kills bacteria. It also protects tooth enamel.
Celery, carrots, apples, and similar "crunchy" foods are not only high in vitamins and nutrients but also force you to chew. That produces saliva which neutralizes cavity-causing bacteria. They help in another way. These foods have fiber so they "scrub" your teeth and gums with a natural abrasion, which cleans your teeth.
Raisins stop the growth of two types of oral bacteria because they have phytochemicals. This prevents both cavities and gum disease. Unsweetened cranberries, like the fresh kind in bags, prevent plaque from clinging to teeth so they can help fight calories too.
Sweet potatoes have a ton of Vitamin A. This vitamin is critical for good tooth enamel and healing gum disease.
You may not think of sesame seeds as something that can keep your mouth healthy but they can. Sesame Seeds have a lot of calcium and help protect the bone around teeth and gums. They are also rough enough to scrape off plaque.
Everyone tells you to drink more water for various reasons but water also helps your teeth. It washes away food debris, tartar residue, and other particles from your teeth. It also stimulates saliva and keeps your gums hydrated, which helps them stay healthy.
Foods can help your teeth function as they should for years to come, as long as they are the right foods. Incorporating these items into your diet will lower your risk for cavities, and gum disease and help your overall oral health. They do some other pretty cool things for the rest of your body too.