Oman wellness: Chew on this
October 7, 2017 | 7:16 PM
by Dr Vijaylakshmi Sundarraj
Snacking on raw apples give your teeth an abrasive action, as this can help remove food particles and bacteria away from your teeth.

We all know that our oral health is important, however what most people don’t know is - nutrition plays a big role in this. Your oral health and total health are connected, if we don’t take care of our teeth and gums, we risk tooth decay, gum disease, and even bone loss.

Did you know the state of our teeth and gums can often signal systemic problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sinus infection, rheumatoid arthritis, gastroesophageal reflux, alcoholism, and more? In fact, your dentist can sometimes diagnose these conditions before your doctor.

Your diet ideally should be a good mix of protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, antioxidants, iron, mutli-vitamins, and omega-3 fats. Dentists would recommend eating mostly whole foods diet with lots of lean protein and fresh vegetables and avoiding most processed foods. Unless you have a known deficiency, supplements should not be necessary.

Here are some foods and drinks for better dental — and overall — health:

Cheese, chicken, nuts, milk: These foods are a good source of calcium and phosphorus and they help in remineralising your tooth enamel and stimulating the saliva flow in the mouth giving it a natural protection against dental problems.

Fruits and vegetables: A well balanced diet consisting good amount of fruits and vegetables can help prevent potential tooth decay and periodontal or gum-related problems. Green leafy vegetables are rich in iron, vitamins and minerals, calcium, and folic acid. On the other hand, snacking on raw apples, carrots and celery have an added bonus apart from their nutritional value and they also give your teeth an abrasive action, as this can help remove food particles and bacteria away from your teeth.

Green tea: Recent studies have linked drinking green tea can improve your oral health. Green tea has been known to increase alkaline in the mouth, helping in reducing the acidity of saliva and dental plaque and thereby could be useful tool in preventing cavities. Additionally, the antioxidant and antibacterial properties is also known to provide protection against oral cancer.

Water: Water is the best known way to squash any lingering bad breath, it could also help prevent your teeth from potential staining and rinsing mouth after every meal also aids in flushing away sugary and acidic remains. Another advantage to drinking water often is that it contains fluoride which is known in reducing tooth decay by as much as 25 per cent.

Of course, you can occasionally have candy, or chocolate. The odd energy drink or glass of soft drink is okay. As long as, it is in moderation. Replace your energy drink with water — or if you really want an energy drink buy a small can, and drink plenty of water afterwards. Remember that eating a healthy diet is the best gift you can give your teeth, coupled with visits to the dentist twice a year. A check-up and scale-clean every six months is a great way to ensure your oral health is on the right track. Scale and clean is when your dentist cleans your teeth in a way brushing and flossing cannot, this helps prevent decay and gum disease. [email protected]

Dr Vijaylakshmi Sundarraj is a dental surgeon at Wassan Specialty Dental Centre

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