The official start of summer is just around the corner but already we’re starting to reap the benefits of the warmer weather. Cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, and rhubarb. Asparagus, radishes, turnips, and broccoli. Before long, our grocery stores will be overflowing with local produce and the apple orchards and wine vineyards will be open to anyone with a bucket or a bag and a penchant for picking.
If you’ve been dreaming about a bowlful of fresh fruit since the first snowfall last year, you won’t have to wait much longer. Watermelon smoothies and dragon fruit parfaits are in your near future. And don’t underestimate that all-natural fruit popsicle. There are more health benefits than you might initialize realize.
Certain fruits and vegetables provide tremendous health benefits that can help your smile shine as brightly as the mid-summer sun.
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then two a day must keep the dentist at bay… right? Though we can’t scientifically prove that eating two apples a day would, in fact, reduce your need to visit the dentist’s office, we can confidently say that apples are great for your teeth and gums.
Apples Are Nature’s Toothbrush. If you’ve ever heard your dentist refer to “nature’s toothbrush” then they were likely talking about apples. When we eat fresh apples, their naturally fibrous texture acts very much like a toothbrush in that it removes plaque and food particles stuck in our teeth. However, don’t let the apples fool you, you should still be brushing your teeth twice a day… with an actual brush.
Apples Promote Healthy Teeth and Gums. Did you know that scurvy—a disease resulting from a lack of Vitamin C—can lead to periodontal disease? If you’ve been eating an apple a day, then that’s a little factoid that you don’t have to worry about. It isn’t just citrus fruits that pack a dose of Vitamin C. The average apple contains 15% of your recommended daily Vitamin C intake. Furthermore, apples contain potassium which your body needs to strengthen its bones—i.e., your teeth.
Apples Improve Cardiovascular Health. Apples contain antioxidants that improve your cardiovascular health. And even though researchers aren’t certain why, there is a definitive link between heart health and oral health. Whatever researchers find in the future, we know for sure that apples are a delicious dental delight.
Pears have many of the same oral and dental health benefits as apples with some perks to boot.
Pears Come in All Shapes and Flavours. Apples are great and come in a number of different varieties but after a while, an apple is just an apple. Pears offer all of the same oral and dental benefits as apples—they’re fibrous, promote salivation, contain crucial vitamins and minerals, and can boost cardiovascular health. In addition to that, there are more than 3,000 cultivars of pears grown all over the world. Granted most of them aren’t necessarily edible in their raw form, but you can alternate between pears and apples all summer long while simultaneously expanding your culinary horizons!
Root Vegetables (Carrots, Celery, Beets & Parsnips)
The reason that Bugs Bunny has such great front teeth is that he’s always chomping down on a carrot. Alright, that’s not actually true. He has such great front teeth because that’s how the cartoonists drew him. But there is some science behind our wacky theory.
Hard Foods Strengthen Muscles and Bones. Our bodies adapt relatively quickly to the environments that we expose ourselves to and the tasks we require them to perform. Our jawbones and muscles are no exception to this rule. A 2019 study found that a diet of hard foods did, in fact, enhance bone formation in mice. Raw—or cooked but firm—root vegetables such as carrots and celery can strengthen your jawbones and muscles and your precious pearly whites. You can think of it as a workout for your mouth.
Root Vegetables Carry Minerals. Part of protecting your teeth—and your luminous smile—is ensuring that your diet is rich in vitamins and minerals. If you enjoy nibbling on root vegetables, then you’re already ahead of the game. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe—and basically any other orange-coloured foods you can think of—are all high in beta carotene which your body converts to Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to remineralize tooth enamel which, in turn, helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
Dark, Leafy Greens
At some point or another, we’ve all had some spinach stuck in between our teeth. It may even have caused an embarrassing smile or two. But don’t write spinach and other leafy vegetables out of your diet just yet. They’re doing more to help your smile than harm it—just remember to rinse out your mouth after eating that salad bowl.
Leafy Greens Are Mineral Mines. Foods like collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and kale have so many minerals that you’ll need a chisel to get them all out. Not actually. Just your teeth will do. Leafy greens contain high amounts of Vitamins A and C, magnesium, beta carotene, phosphorous, and calcium. Those are all ingredients that your body can use to strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities. And if you really want a phosphorous boost, pair leafy greens or your fruit smoothies with dairy products such as milk and yogurt.
Ask Your Dentist & Don’t Forget to Brush
Fresh fruits and vegetables are great for your overall health and can make a big difference in the brightness of your smile. It’s important to remember, however, that there’s no substitute for twice-daily flossing and brushing—with actual floss and a toothbrush and not just apples.
Schedule your next appointment with Applewood Dental today and ask about our healthy foods that are good for your oral health. Then take off to the beach and enjoy the summer sun for us!