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Volume III
January 13, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Foods for Healthy Teeth

By Patty Liston

It has been a little too long since I had my teeth looked at. I know: shame on me. Lots of excuses, but none good enough for what my dentist is probably going to tell me.

What got me motivated enough to make an appointment was an article by Dr. Weil about the consequences of not properly caring for the only teeth I have left. It seems that research on teeth indicates that the same bacteria that causes gum infections, can also lead to worsening "atherosclerosis, the arterial disease that contributes to heart attacks and strokes." Who knew?

Practicing "good oral hygiene" will take us a long way to keeping ourselves and our mouth, healthy.

Recommended practices include:

•  Flossing at least once a day. There are numerous dental floss flavors on the market these days, along with waxed, double waxed, and unwaxed floss. There is a right way of doing this, so ask your hygienist the next time you are in your dentist's office. Or, go to YouTube, the repository of all things video.

•  According to Dr. Weil, wash your hands and massage your gums with your fingertips. Or stimulate them by running the end of a wooden toothpick gently under the gum line.

•  If your gums are sore, mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to a paste and work this goo into and under your gums with a toothbrush. Leave it on for a few minutes and rinse.

•  Go see your dentist 2x a year.

What to Eat

Of course, there are foods that can help - as well as hinder - our ability to keep our teeth. According to the site,, good foods would be cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts and milk (I would recommend a good organic milk that is not full of who-knows-what.)

Other suggestions are:

•  Good crunchy fruits like apples and pears and vegetables such as, you guessed it, carrots. These foods have a higher water content which "dilutes the effects of sugars they contain and stimulates the flow of saliva... which protects against decay...".


Foods that contain a large amount of sugar:

•  Hard candy, (especially those that stick to your teeth),cookies, cakes, pies •  Potato chips, pretzels, French fries, raisins, and other dried fruits

The reason for this is obvious; the foods under the first bullet contain a lot of sugar. But pretzels? Evidently, these foods can stick to your teeth and provide a fuel source for bacteria. This is not a very pretty visual image.

When it comes to what to drink, the decision does not involve rocket science analytics. Water is best. Not only is it good for your teeth, but it also serves to hydrate the priceless organs in your body. Most everything else on the market contains vast amounts of sugar such as soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, and coffee and tea that have sugar added.

Now, none of this is to say that an occasional lapse into a sugar fiesta is all bad. I believe that the key word when it comes to these foods would be "moderation". Besides, if you get a cavity only you and your dentist will ever know!

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