If you surveyed a hundred people about the connection between diet and oral health, chances are that you would get a hundred different responses. Most, however, would focus in some way on the negative impact certain foods can have on your teeth and gums, with much of that attention directed toward sugary foods. However, you are unlikely to hear many of those surveyed people mention much about foods that can actually benefit your oral health. Take fiber, for example. While there has been a great deal of talk in the media about how beneficial fibrous foods can be for overall health, there is little emphasis on how fiber can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
The Catch-22 of Fiber
It is important to understand fiber’s important role early in life, because there is a bit of a Catch-22 involved in its consumption. You see, you need fiber to have healthy teeth, but you need a good set of teeth in your mouth to chew most fibrous foods. With that in mind, it is important to start incorporating healthy fiber into your diet as early as possible.
What Kind of Fiber?
There are two types of fiber that you can consume: soluble and insoluble. The former gets broken down by water and turns into a beneficial substance that provides many health benefits. The latter remains in a more solid form, attaches itself to waste and water, and can aid in digestion, heart health, and blood sugar regulation. Scientists have identified both kinds of fiber as being essential for overall good health.
But How Does Fiber Help Your Teeth and Gums?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fibrous foods are basically a detergent for the inside of your mouth! When you chew foods high in fiber, your mouth produces saliva, and that saliva is used to cleanse your teeth and gums by reducing the negative effects various enzymes and acids can have on your teeth. In addition, your saliva has both phosphate and calcium traces that your teeth need to remain strong and healthy.
Food or Supplements…
It might be tempting to simply opt for some sort of fiber supplement pill, but that’s the last thing you should do! While that can provide many of the same health benefits you need for the rest of your body, supplements do not provide the same benefits for the teeth because they lack that natural saliva-producing effect that occurs while chewing fibrous foods.
Your Best Food Sources for Fiber
The good news is that some of the best fiber sources are also some of the most flavorful food options. For example, apples, oranges, and strawberries are all fantastic saliva-producing options that also have the added benefit of providing essential vitamins. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and other crunchy choices should also be eaten regularly.
At Ebenezer Dental, we know that there is more to optimal oral care than brushing, flossing, and regular trips to the best dentist in Midtown Manhattan. Healthier dietary habits are critically important as well, and can be one of the easiest ways you can gain better control over your own oral health regimen. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you maintain the attractive and healthy teeth you deserve!