We all know that brushing and flossing our teeth represent a superb health habit. That doesn’t mean we do it, especially the flossing part. But let’s say you are indeed a regular brusher and flosser. There’s more you can. Check out this excerpt from one of the country’s great newspapers (one that is facing possible closure) the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The advice comes from Debra Boutin, associate professor of nutrition at Bastyr University, arguably the country’s leading natural health medical school:
Keeping your teeth healthy and strong is one of the best things you can do to ensure well-being throughout your life. Besides brushing and flossing after every meal and visiting the dentist regularly, there is more you can do for your teeth by making the right choices when you eat.
Choose foods that do not contribute to tooth decay. These foods include protein, fats and vegetables, and the key to their protective benefits is that they must be eaten last. Nuts and unsweetened dairy products contain both protein and fat, so finish your snack or meal with a glass of milk, a piece of cheese or a handful of nuts. Vegetables are beneficial because they are low in sugar and high in fiber, a natural toothbrush.
Avoid "feeding" the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for cavity formation. Foods that are sweet, starchy and sticky (chips, crackers, cereals, breads and cookies) are most likely to adhere to the surfaces of your teeth where these bacteria live. Sodas, including diet soda, and some sports drinks contain acids that contribute to the conditions for tooth decay. If you can't brush your teeth after consuming these kinds of foods and beverages, rinse your mouth with water, or chew gum sweetened with xylitol.
The same nutrients that keep bones healthy -- calcium, phosphorous, vitamin C and vitamin D -- also are crucial for strong teeth, and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help your immune system defend the health of your mouth from the inside.
Taking care of your teeth requires daily attention and the results are well worth it. The only side effects will be a brighter smile, sweeter breath and the ability to enjoy delicious food throughout your lifetime.
Bob Condor blogs for Alternative Health Journal every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.