When your dentist peers inside your mouth, he sees more than just the health of your teeth and gums. The state of your oral cavity can speak volumes about your overall health and diet. Your diet has a lot to do with treating or preventing diseases of the mouth.
If there is an infection or inflammation, your mouth may be trying to tell you it isn’t being fed right. Processed foods, such as refined carbohydrates and sugars will just feed the infection. Other nutritionally void foods can harm your dental health by tipping the balance between oxidants and antioxidants.
Stellar oral health can fight or even prevent inflammation and infections. That’s just what we want since inflammation and infections zap your immune system of valuable resources.
There’s the obvious oral hygiene practices: brush teeth at least twice daily, floss daily, tame your sweet tooth, stop smoking, and get regular dental check-ups.
What else could your teeth and gums use for optimum health? Many diseases of the oral cavity, especially gum disease (better known as periodontal disease), are associated with low levels of nutrients and antioxidants. Here are some nutrients to sink your teeth into:
Bathe your gums in a cup of organic green tea daily. Green tea catechins, an active ingredient and polyphenol found in green tea, can kill destructive acid-producing bacterial cells that cause cavities and break down teeth, harm your gums, and even cause halitosis (a fancy word for bad breath).
You saliva is more than just slimy water in your mouth. It’s a storehouse of enzymes, electrolytes, hormones, and even antioxidants. The polyphenols from green tea can help supply the antioxidants naturally found in healthy saliva.
Alternate your green tea intake with the fully fermented version of the same plant – black tea – since it’s just as effective at stopping bacterial growth. Black tea can help keep plaque build-up under control by preventing bacteria from attaching to plaque that already exists. Since green tea leaves are unfermented, though, they still get the gold star for highest concentration of polyphenolic antioxidants.