Let’s be honest here: no one likes to tolerate bad breath and poor oral hygiene. It is one of the easiest ways to ruin your first impression. So what’s the solution then? Well, first of all, you need to inculcate good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing. However, if you’re still struggling with poor oral health, it could be because of your eating habits. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the foods that you can eat to improve your oral hygiene.
Since yoghurt has an abundance of calcium, it can strengthen your enamel (the outermost layer of the teeth). According to some of the recent scientific studies, it can also eliminate bad breath by reducing odour-causing compounds like hydrogen sulfide. However, make sure that you eat yoghurt that does not contain excessive sugar as it may do more harm than good.
Apples & carrots
Crunchy fruits like apples, carrots, and celery stimulate saliva production, which eventually helps rinse the mouth of any bacteria that may lead to cavities. Need something to eat on the go? Grab an apple from your fridge.
Although it’s usually advised to not eat sticky foods as they may become a breeding ground for bacteria, certain sticky foods can improve oral health. The Chicago College of Dentistry conducted a study that revealed that raisins contain phytochemicals that can ward off the bacteria responsible for causing cavities and gum diseases.
You must have heard a lot about green tea being an effective beverage for reducing weight. However, new research has shown that it can also boost periodontal health by reducing inflammation and bacterial growth inside the mouth which leads to gum diseases.
Who doesn’t know that whole grains are excellent for maintaining good health? Now it is being suggested that whole grains like oats, barley, bran, etc. can indirectly improve periodontal health as well by boosting your body’s ability to process blood sugar.
Cinnamon is a popular spice that has been used for maintaining oral health since ancient times. It contains an oil called cinnamic aldehyde that can inhibit bacterial growth, thereby preventing infections and diseases.
Cranberries are popular for curing bladder infections but they can also be used to improve periodontal health. They contain natural compounds which make it difficult for bacteria to cling to surfaces. Studies have shown that cranberry juice prevents the formation of glucan, which acts as a building block for plaque. However, you should still brush your teeth after having cranberries as they have high quantities of sugar and acids.
This may seem like a bit of a head-scratcher but it’s very effective. Although onions themselves are pungent-smelling vegetables, they are fascinatingly effective against different kinds of bacteria and can help prevent the formation of cavities.
Green, leafy vegetables
There are countless health benefits of consuming green, leafy vegetables. Much like whole grains, they too help process blood sugar and keep the teeth healthy. They also stimulate the production of saliva and contain phytochemicals that can root out bacteria.
Milk & cheese
Both milk and cheese are rich in calcium that strengthens the teeth and bones. They also contain a protein called casein, which can neutralise the acids that are produced by the bacteria — hence reducing bad breath and preventing the yellowing of teeth.
Don’t forget to brush
It doesn’t matter how healthy a food is, if you’re not brushing your teeth after consuming it, you will fall victim to plaque buildup in your mouth, leading to bad breath and yellow teeth. It is, therefore, extremely important to brush your teeth after eating, regardless of what you eat.
Unhealthy diets have been held responsible by many studies for oral diseases, even oral cancer. Therefore, it might be worthwhile to fill your plate with fruits, raisins, and green leafy vegetables for a while.
(The author is a dental surgeon.)