A Guide to Greens, Grins, and Smiles
Like so many of the rules, we learn in childhood, “eat your vegetables” is a real eye-roller for most kids.
However, when you grow up and find that you care about things like health and energy… and that eating green foods can give you both those things and more.
Something else green veggies can give you? A better smile.
That’s right! In addition to their Popeye-ish ability to make you healthy, fruits and vegetables offer real dental benefits too. Today, we explain why that is and which green veggies are most worthwhile for your smile.
Green Foods Pack Nutrients for Enamel
Scientists are still learning about the amazing pro-health qualities of vegetables and fruits. Among other things, the right green veggies can give you:
- Antioxidants (promotes the healing of oral wounds and protects against harmful free radicals)
- Anthocyanins (powerful phytochemicals that keep pathogens from colonizing on your gum tissue and teeth)
- Calcium (builds enamel)
- Magnesium (strengthens teeth, builds enamel, and prevents cavities)
- Vitamin A, including beta carotene (protects your mucosal barriers and against allergies, which can affect nasal breathing and upper teeth development)
- Vitamin C (helps to protect your gums from cell damage and infection and reduces gum bleeding)
- Vitamin E (reduces inflammation)
- Vitamin K (promotes blood clotting to reduce bleeding after brushing, flossing, and dental visits)
- Folic acid (promotes whole-mouth and whole-body health and may protect against gum disease in pregnant women)
- Phosphorous (naturally protects and rebuilds enamel)
- Xylitol (neutralizes the pH level in your mouth and prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth)
Mind you; not all green foods offer each of these benefits. We’ll look at some of your best bets at the end of this article.
Raw Veggies Are Nature’s Toothbrush
Many green vegetables are high in fiber, which packs a threefold benefit:
- The fibrous texture can brush food residue off your teeth.
- High-fiber fruits and veggies can increase salivation, which decreases the acidity in your mouth and acts as a kind of natural rinse for stubborn food particles on your teeth and gums.
- Fiber stimulates and massages gum tissue, helping to fight cavities and further increase salivation.
So, while green vegetables can’t take the place of your toothbrush or regular flossing, they do work as a powerful complement to your daily oral health routine.
Experts, recommend eating raw foods at the end of your meal to help “brush away” the foods that came before them!
The “Eat This, Not That” Principle
Anytime you choose a fruit or vegetable as a snack it means you are making a healthier choice.
Snacks high in carbohydrates, acids, and artificial sugars are bad for your teeth (and for the rest of you, too). Eating green veggies is healthy even as an act of substitution!
The 7 Best Green Vegetables for Your Teeth
Need some good greens for your grin? Get the most out of a meal by adding these proverbial “pots of gold”:
- Celery — It might not taste like much, but it’s fiber in a stick! All those “tooth brushing” benefits we talked about above? Celery has them in spades!
- Spinach — Calcium, folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, protein… spinach truly has it all! No wonder Popeye was hooked on the stuff.
- Kale — Kale has many of the same essential dental health benefits as spinach, but with the added bonus of being hip and trendy. Can’t stomach the raw stuff? Try baking it into a no-frills chip! You’ll find plenty of healthy recipes online.
- Cabbage — High in Vitamins C and K, as well as fiber and special antioxidants known as glucosinolates, which are believed to aid in disease suppression throughout the body.
- Chard — Just one cup of Swiss chard provides over three times the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin K! It’s also believed to lower blood pressure (which is excellent for your oral health too!)
- Asparagus — These sticks don’t look like much, but they’re brimming with fiber, folate, phosphorous, potassium, and Vitamins A, C, E, and K. (You’ll get 57% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K from just half a cup of cooked asparagus!) It’s also known for its micronutrient value, including iron, zinc, and riboflavin.
- Carrots — Okay, so they’re mostly orange but green on top! They’re super fibrous and packed with beta carotene. In fact, that’s what they’re famous for!
We’ve confined our list to vegetables, but keep in mind that plenty of other green foods — from green apples to green tea — can pack an oral health punch too!
Better breath, a healthier mouth, a nicer smile — they’re all just a dentist’s visit away. But you have to remember to make the appointment, and that’s where many people mess up.
Get started by visiting an Ideal Dental office near you. We have 60 locations across the state of Texas, and we are committed to making better, brighter smiles affordable.
We believe no one should feel embarrassed about wanting to look better when they smile. We also think better oral hygiene should be an easy check off your to-do list, and we’re here to help make it so. Schedule an appointment today.
After your checkup, Ideal Dental offers a variety of services for any additional needs! Click here to learn more about our dental services.
Ideal Dental was founded in 2008 and has over 80 locations across the state of Texas. Ideal Dental offices provide patients with a wide range of dental services including general dentistry, teeth whitening, orthodontics, oral surgery and emergency dental. Ideal Dental’s mission is to put smiles on the faces of hundreds of patients that visit its offices daily.