1. Green Tea
Green tea contains complex compounds called “catechins” that can fight inflammation and actually
control bacterial infections. It’s true. For example, one Japanese study found that men who drink green
tea regularly have less occurrence of periodontal disease, as compared to infrequent tree drinkers. And
another Japanese study showed that for both men and women, drinking one or more cups of tea per day
was correlated with less tooth loss later in life. The antimicrobial “catechins” may in fact account for the
oral health benefits associated with green tea, but as of now further study is needed. What we do know for
sure, however, is that green tea consumption is good for oral health, period.
2. Strawberries and Kiwis (and to a lesser extent, Citrus Fruits)
Vitamin C is very important for the overall health of delicate gum tissue, because the vitamin C helps to
prevent collagen from breaking down. Without collagen, gums become extra tender, and thus susceptible
to periodontal disease. Kiwis and strawberries have the highest concentration of vitamin C, but citrus
fruits also boast good numbers. These fruits also do double duty because of their astringency, which may
help to reverse discoloration caused by commonly consumed beverages like coffee and wine.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of plant-based protein, and they pack in powerful teeth-healthy
micronutrients such as phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and most importantly, calcium.
Calcium is of course essential for strong bones and teeth, and dietary calcium may actually contribute to
tooth remineralization. The nuts highest in calcium are almonds and brazil nuts. Sesame seeds are
incredibly high in calcium as well, but make sure you get the unhulled variety
Onions, especially when eaten raw, boast powerful bacteria-busting prowess thanks to their antimicrobial
sulfur-containing compounds. Recent research out of a Korean University has confirmed that raw onions
were actually able to completely eradicate four strains of bacteria known to cause cavities and periodontal
disease. Raw onion slivers can be eaten on sandwiches or in salads. However, if you simply cannot
stomach them raw, cooked onion is better than no onion at all.
5. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitakes contain lentinan, a natural sugar that may help to prevent gingivitis. Gingivitis is gum
inflammation, characterized by redness, swelling, and possibly even bleeding, often caused by a build-up
of bacterial biofilm. Recent studies show that antibacterial compounds like lentinan specifically target
these biofilm-making microbes. In fact, they’re so precise that they kill cavity-causing bacteria while
leaving the other, non-harmful bacteria completely unaffected.
6. Apples, Celery and other Low-Acid, Fibrous Foods
Often referred to as “dental detergents” these water-rich fruits and veggies act by stimulating saliva
production, which keeps oral bacteria in check. These high-fiber foods also have a scrubbing effect,
literally cleansing the surface of your teeth as you eat, working to brush the bacteria away. Chewing these
foods will disturb and dislodge newly formed dental plaque, preventing it from ever forming.
Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD and TIPS pages for more related news on this topic.