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Eating for Tooth and Gum Health

Your Health

With all the whitening and brightening products available for your teeth, it's easy to forget that cosmetics aren't enough to achieve a healthy mouth.

There's regular brushing and flossing, of course, but your teeth and gums need even more.

Like the rest of your body, good health in your mouth starts with getting the right dietary nutrients. What you eat makes a difference in whether your gums, teeth and the bone they attach to are able to stand strong against plaque bacteria that can cause disease.

Among the dental health nutritional standouts:

  • Calcium: The more milk, cheese and yogurt you consume, the less likely you are to develop periodontal, or gum, disease, a chronic bacterial infection. Calcium is important for building done density, which supports teeth. People, especially those in their 20s and 30s, who ate or drank less than half the recommended daily allowance of calcium were twice as likely to have gum disease.
  • Folic acid: If your gums bleed, and regular cleaning and flossing don't seem to help, you might want to check your folate levels. Low dietary intake of folic acid (best found in leafy green vegetables) is linked to bleeding gums.
  • Vitamin C: An orange a day will help keep the dentist away. That's because less than the daily RDA of vitamin C (about equal to one fruit) increases your risk of severe gingivitis and the swollen, red and bleeding gums it causes. As an antioxidant, vitamin C may help keep mouth tissue healthy.
  • Green tea: There's evidence that green tea may help protect against periodontal disease. Fresh-brewed green tea is beneficial in many ways (but it loses much of its nutritional value when bottled), so enjoy a cup now!
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