Six foods to improve your dental health

It’s possible to eat your way to a cleaner mouth. When you don’t have a toothbrush handy, try these everyday foods to maintain your oral hygiene.

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Woman eating an apple

Eating can help with your oral hygiene

The food we need to nourish our bodies can often do a number on our teeth. Sticky or sugary food particles help the bacteria in our mouths to produce acids, leading to tooth decay. That’s why it’s so important to keep our teeth clean between meals.

“Nothing is as effective as a brush and a floss twenty minutes after you’ve eaten,” points out Julie Linzel, a dental hygienist in Charlottetown. But if cleaning your mouth after a meal isn’t always possible, there are other ways to do a little housekeeping for your kisser. And believe it or not, some of that involves eating! Here are six foods that can actually help with your oral hygiene.

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Carrots plate

1. Apples, carrots and celery

These snacks aren’t known as dental detergents for nothing. Crunchy fruits and vegetables increase the flow of cleansing saliva, giving your mouth a fresh feeling.  Just be sure the fruits you choose between meals aren’t high in acid; they can be hard on your tooth enamel.

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Glass of milk

2. Cheese or milk

Acid from the foods we eat can eat away at our teeth. But many dairy products can actually reduce the acid in your mouth. And a glass of milk or a piece of cheese is filling. “It satisfies you as far as hunger goes, and sugar found in milk doesn’t contribute to tooth decay,” says Dr. Ron Smith, president of the Canadian Dental Association and a practicing dentist in Duncan, B.C.

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Raw onion

3. Raw onion

Try a slice or two of fresh onion on your sandwich. Research at a Korean University showed that raw onions have powerful antibacterial properties. In an experiment, onions wiped out four strains of bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease. Of course, after eating raw onions you may end up with killer breath!

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4. Cashews

Cashew nut shell oil has been shown to have microbe-fighting properties against bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Not only can these nuts help keep your teeth clean, they may also clear your skin – research shows cashew nut shell oil helps to fight one of the bacteria that cause acne.

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5. Wasabi

Are you a sucker for sushi? Now you have another excuse to snack on it. The wasabi that’s usually served on the side may have oral health benefits. Research in Japan has found that this spicy green cousin to horseradish can stop bacteria from sticking to your teeth.

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Glass of water

6. Water

Wash your mouth out with water! Drinking water can cleanse your teeth. In fact, water swished around in your mouth is as effective as mouthwash at removing bacteria. If you’re trying to control your weight, even more reason to make water your friend. Between meals, a glass or two of water can keep your tummy feeling filled.

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