"Mary, Mary quite contrary, How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockleshells And pretty maids all in a row."
While we don't know exactly what a "cockleshell" might be (don't worry, we looked it up for you here), we do appreciate a good garden. A healthy garden creates beautiful flowers and vibrant fruits and vegetables. And, healthy gardens demand quite a bit of work. They take sun, water, weeding, and patience, but the harvest is well worth the investment.
Healthy teeth are similar to a healthy garden. They take time, care, and are also well worth the investment of both. Another thing they have in common is the fact that the bountiful harvest of a garden does wonders for the teeth.
October is National Vegetarian Month. Becoming a vegetarian isn't required for healthy teeth, but adding some of these heavy-hitting fruits and vegetables to your diet will strengthen your teeth and improve your health all around. Dig in! (See what we did there.)
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it apparently keeps the dentist away as well. Or, at least it can keep the dentist away from that pesky root canal drill. Apples are nature's toothbrush. That delightful crunch is full of fiber and so it gives your teeth a nice scrubbing as you enjoy the snack. Apples can also stimulate saliva, the washing machine of the mouth. But still, go to the dentist!
This is another great toothbrush nature has created! Celery is rich in vitamins A and C. Chewing up celery isn't just a good workout for your jaw; its fibrous nature scours your teeth nicely. If plain celery sounds about as exciting to you as actually brushing your teeth, try using it to scoop up peanut butter, hummus, or another favorite dip. Can't do that with a toothbrush!
You are probably picking up on a key trend here: raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables are fantastic for your teeth so munch away! Carrots have the added benefit of being chock full of vitamin A. When you can get bright colors AND a big crunch, then you have found a definite dental winner.
While we are on the subject of rabbit food, don't forget your greens. Leafy greens include spinach, kale, chard, and the rainbow of lettuces. These greens have a long list of good qualities. They are rich in folic acid, iron, and a lost list of other valuable minerals. Folic acid can be especially helpful in pregnant women, not only for the growth of the baby but for the prevention of gum disease. A big salad is obviously a wonderful way to get those greens, but you can sneak them in by other means as well. Throw some into a pasta salad, scatter them atop a pizza, or blend them into a vitamin-packed smoothie. See, that's not so hard, is it?
Seek out Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of your mouth's best friends. It strengthens your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth, boosting the blood supply and keeping them healthy. Healthy gums hold on to teeth better, which has some clear benefits. Here is a quick list of some Vitamin C heavy hitters:
Getting Vitamin C is a delicious way to mark off your to-do list!
Oxygen is great for your lungs, but oxidation is not. Oxidation is a fancy word for oxygen breaking things down. It is similar to the process of something rusting out. So, when you hear about foods being touted for their "antioxidants," it means they are full of anthocyanins, which fight off the bad guys that settle into your body and cause problems. Those bad guys can cause problems for your teeth, so adding in foods high in these powerhouses is a brilliant idea. Berries top the list of anti-oxidant rich foods. Add blueberries to your oatmeal, enjoy a yogurt parfait with raspberries, and toss strawberries into a smoothie. There are countless ways to work berries into your diet. Get creative and let them do their job.
Yes, we know it isn't a food, but water is such a valuable player in caring for your teeth, it deserves to make the list. Fruits and veggies have lots of wonderful benefits, but they also have sugar inside. Apple sugar is natural, but it is still sugar. So, leaving little bits between the teeth can still breed bacteria and trouble in the future. Bits of berries can do the same thing. Water is a powerful rinsing agent--use it often. We know that no one can live off of berries, apples, and leafy greens. Once in a while, there needs to be a brownie or a caramel. Enjoy the treat. Then, enjoy a nice tall glass of water.
Brushing, flossing, and rinsing are excellent and necessary strategies for strong and healthy teeth. But, like a healthy garden, much of the best work comes from the soil. Plant good foods full of vitamins, and your body and teeth will thank you for many years to come.
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