We recently discovered that the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has officially announced 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of fruits and vegetables in nutrition, food security and health, so we thought it would be a good idea to delve into the impact they can have on our oral health.
Vitamins and minerals
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function at their best. Our oral health heroes are leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, as they contain calcium, which is great for keeping teeth strong, as well as folic acid and B vitamins for gum health. Our top tip is to try roasting kale for a crispy snack!
There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that require a lot of chewing. Raw carrots, celery, apples, peppers, etc, are a really effective way of encouraging healthy saliva flow. Not only is this great for helping to wash away food particles, it also naturally remineralises the teeth. They are also great for cleaning the teeth in between brushing.
We all know the impact that a sugary diet can have on our teeth and even natural sugars should be considered. Fruits and vegetables that are naturally sweet will contain higher levels of fructose but that doesn’t mean they should be avoided altogether. Choose crunchy ones, such as apples where possible.
Softer fruits that require less chewing, such as berries, should therefore be eaten less frequently than their crunchy counterparts, but don’t skip them altogether because they are full of nutrients that we need for good overall health.
We recommend getting your fruit and veg fix from whole food sources rather than ready-made juices. These are often high in sugars and acids, neither of which are very good for our teeth. Consuming as a drink requires no chewing and therefore does not encourage the saliva flow required to remineralise the teeth.
However, there’s nothing wrong with a little of your favourite juice now and then in moderation as you’ll still benefit from lots of lovely vitamins and minerals!