Tasty Foods Can Help Oral Health

Yummy foods like dark chocolate and blueberries are in the news, and not just because they taste great. They’re considered antioxidants, cell-protecting compounds that may fight the damaging effects of oxidative stress that is linked to chronic inflammation which is believed to initiate or exacerbate disease. And research points out that the positive effects of antioxidants that help our systemic (throughout the body) health also positively affect our oral health.

The neutralizing effects of antioxidants may actually help offset damage of oxidative stress inside our mouths. Natural compounds (polyphenols) in certain foods and wine can help prevent bad bacteria from causing decay. It’s believed that the positive affect of these polyphenols linger in our mouths even after we’ve swallowed them.

Examples of antioxidants include:
(organic fruits and vegetables are best!)

  • Dark chocolate (in moderation!)
  • Berries with deep colors (blueberries, cherries, for instance)
  • Dark green lettuce
  • Brightly colored vegetables (spinach, kale, carrots)
  • Green tea
  • Red wine (in moderation!)
  • Spices like cinnamon, cumin, ginger and turmeric

Drs. Levine and Fava remind patients that simply adding more antioxidants to their diets isn’t enough to counteract the damage caused by diets heavy in sugary drinks, processed foods and meats and too many desserts. It’s critical to keep up regular dental checkups. And be sure to maintain oral hygiene with twice daily brushing and flossing.