Posts tagged: oral bacteria

Healthy foods for teeth

Do we get healthy foods for teeth? Foods containing sugar are bad for our teeth and gums. True or false? If true, then what foods are good for healthy teeth and if false, well then enjoy anything you want.  Fact is however that there are certain foods and substances that will do your teeth’s health good.

Let’s look at a few.

TEA (prevent plaque growth)

Tea, specifically black tea, has been shown to interfere with the bacteria that cause plaque. The tea limits the ability of the enzyme which converts sugars into the sticky matrix which allows plaque to build up on the teeth. Healthy foods for teeth are essential in preventing plague growth. And other bacteria become unable to clump together, which reduces the total amount of plaque buildup on the teeth. Dr. Christina Wu of the University of Illinois School of Dentristry where this study was conducted says, “Drinking tea may have added oral health benefits by controlling through ‘prevention’ the most prevalent diseases of mankind, mainly caries and periodontal disease.” 1

RAISINS (suppress oral bacteria growth)
Dr Wu, who also conducted the study on tea, announced in 2005 that “Raisins are perceived as sweet and sticky, and any food that contains sugar and is sticky is assumed to cause cavities. But our study suggests the contrary. Our laboratory analyses showed that phytochemicals in this popular snack food suppress the growth of several species of oral bacteria associated with caries and gum disease” 2 Oleanolic acid in the raisins inhibited the growth of two species of oral bacteria, and it also blocked the adherence to the teeth of the bacteria which form the sticky biofilm known as plaque.

CINNAMON (kills germs)

An essential oil from cinnamon can kill germs. Peppermint, rosemary, sage and cloves are all popular spices for covering breath odor, but cinnamon actually kills the oral bacteria which produce hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell). Surprisingly this result can be obtained by chewing Big Red gum! Tests were performed specifically on this brand and the results showed that the cinnamon flavored gum killed 50% of all oral bacteria, and 40% of those which specifically cause bad breath. Identical gum, except for the cinnamon oil, was prepared by the Wrigley company for the tests, and the unflavored gum did not reduce bacteria counts at all. Although not classified as healthy foods for your teeth, gum can add to maintaining your teeth. The researcher (Dr. Wu who also did the study on tea), says that not enough research has been done to know if other cinnamon flavored gums would have the same effect, but teas flavored with cinnamon might be useful. 3

YOGURT (reduce bacteria)
Sugar-free yogurt also seems to reduce the bacteria which cause bad breath. Volunteers ate a serving of traditional sugar-free yogurt every day for six weeks. The levels of sulfide compounds (hydrogen sulfide- rotten egg smell) decreased in 80% of the yogurt eaters. Also, the level of plaque found in the yogurt eaters was lower than that of the non-yogurt eating group. This study comes from Tsurumi University in Japan. 4

CHEESE, CHICKEN, NUTS (provide minerals)
Cheese, chicken, and nuts all provide calcium and phosphorus. These elements are necessary to redeposit minerals in your tooth enamel that have been removed by acids. We all know that milk is good for the teeth, and this is because milk provides calcium which performs the same remineralization process. 5

Keep your teeth healthy and your breath sparkling fresh.

1. “Tea as a Functional Food for Oral Health” Nutrition, Volume 18, Issue 5, May 2002, Pages 443-444
Christine D. Wu and Guo-Xian Wei Science Direct
2. “Raisins As A Functional Food For Oral Health”, Science Daily, June 13, 2005
3. “Cinnamon Cleans the Breath” Week of May 22, 2004; Vol. 165, No. 21 Science News Online
4. International & American Association For Dental Research (2005, April 6). “Put Culture In Your Life AND Reduce Bad Breath: Eat Yoghurt!” Reported in Science Daily
5. “Dental Health: Diet and Oral Health”, Web MD