You hear a lot about protecting your teeth, but sometimes your gums don't get enough attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost half of Americans suffer from some type of gum disease. Your gums are responsible for keeping your teeth securely in place and protecting the bones underneath your teeth. And it's not just brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist that ensure good gum health; it's your diet as well. Take a look at some foods that can help ensure better gum health.
Shiitake mushrooms make a great addition to any meal. You can sauté them and eat them as a meatless main dish, add them to vegetable medleys, or incorporate them into salads. Not only are they delicious, they're great for your gums.
That's because shiitake mushrooms contain a compound called lentinan. Lentinan is an antibacterial agent that's great at fighting plaque. Plaque often develops along and just underneath the gum line, and it's a leading cause of gum disease. Adding more shiitake mushrooms to your diet can help keep plaque and gum disease at bay.
If your gums are red, inflamed, and sensitive, you may want to think about adding more peppers to your meals. While it may not sound intuitive to spice up your meal when your gums are inflamed, peppers could actually help reduce the inflammation.
Peppers of all kinds contain high amounts of vitamin C, and vitamin C has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help ease gum inflammation. If spicy peppers are too much for your sensitive gums, try adding mild or sweet bell peppers to your meals.
You probably know that sodas and sugary fruit juices aren't great for your gums or teeth. If you're looking for a gum-friendly beverage to replace your sweet or carbonated beverages, you may want to give green tea a try.
Like peppers, green tea has an anti-inflammatory effect on your gums. That's because green tea contains antioxidants called catechins. Catechins fight the specific type of bacteria that causes gum inflammation and gum disease. A cup or two of sweet tea every day could be the key to keeping gum disease away.
Changing your diet won't cure gum disease if you already have it, so you should definitely see a dentist, like those at Fuller Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, right away if you have signs of gum disease, like redness, sensitivity, and bleeding when you brush. However, incorporating more gum-healthy foods into your diet could help give your gum disease treatment a boost, or help prevent gum disease before you develop it.