Eating and drinking to promote healthy gums

by MikeMeehan 11/28/2018 3:50 PM

Nutrition is vital for your entire body, even when it comes to your gums. In honor of Good Nutrition Month, take a moment this November to learn which nutrients help prevent periodontal (gum) disease. To get the full picture, it’s good to know why periodontal disease occurs. When plaque and tartar stay on teeth for an extended period, the bacteria can inflame gums, resulting in gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums. When gingivitis isn’t treated, it can advance to periodontitis (gum disease), meaning “inflammation around the tooth.” Pockets or spaces form as gums pull away from teeth and then become infected. This can cause damage to structures that support teeth and can eventually lead to tooth loss.  More immediate symptoms include persistent bad breath, tender or bleeding gums, pain while chewing, tooth sensitivity and even loose teeth. Depending on the severity, treatments range from deep cleanings that remove plaque and tartar to more involved dental surgeries.  In addition to good oral health habits and regular dental visits, nutrition is an important factor for preventing or recovering from periodontitis. Without proper nutrients fueling your body’s natural processes, you may not be able to fight off infections as easily. This can make you more vulnerable to quicker progression and harsher severity of periodontitis.  Some of the nutrients that encourage gum health include vitamin C, vitamin B12, folic acid and calcium. These key nutrients are easily accessible on a daily basis. Check out some of the richest sources of each. Vitamin C: bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, snow peas and kale Vitamin B12: fish, beef, fortified cereals (watch out for the sugary kinds!), fortified tofu, low-fat milk, Swiss cheese and eggs Folic acid: edamame, lentils, asparagus, spinach, avocados, mangoes and lettuce Calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli and fortified cereals (we recommend whole-grain varieties) Always make sure to brush for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. It’s also best to avoid or quit smoking, which is one of the most significant causes of periodontitis and can decrease your chances for successful treatment.  

A full Thanksgiving menu of mouth-friendly nutrients

by MikeMeehan 11/14/2018 1:54 PM

Nutritious foods show up in abundance during November’s festivities. If you’re searching for nutrients that’ll help your smile, learn where they might be hiding in your Thanksgiving meal.  Main dishesTurkey is rich in protein, which means it contains high amounts of phosphorus. Phosphorus is important for strengthening bones and teeth as well as mineralizing them to protect against cavities. Just make sure to keep floss handy in case turkey gets stuck between your teeth. If you opt for ham, your mouth will still be happy. Eating just three ounces of ham provides 15 percent of your recommended daily zinc, helping replenish tissue along the gum line. Watch out for the sticky, sugary residue glazed ham can leave behind. If you do eat ham with a sugar glaze, brush your teeth or drink water afterward. Side dishesThe green beans in green bean casserole are a great source of vitamins A, C and K. Vitamins A and C are good for gum health, while vitamin K helps protect against substances that break down bones. Avoid cavities by ditching the starchy fried onions on top and choosing a recipe with toasted almonds instead. Yams contain vitamins A and C, too. Unfortunately, if they’re prepared in a sweet, sticky sauce, they leave cavity-causing sugars in your mouth. After enjoying candied yams, drink water to wash it away.  DessertsThere’s nothing like a freshly-made pumpkin pie, and you might be surprised to learn that this pie variety isn’t all bad for oral health. While pie typically has high amounts of sugar, the pumpkin in this one provides a healthy dose of vitamin A to help strengthen enamel and encourage gum health. Plus, pumpkin pie doesn’t require added sugars and can be made with spices because pumpkin already contains a naturally sweet flavor.  Be careful about the crust, though, as it often contains starches that contribute to tooth decay. To keep your pumpkin pie mouth-friendly, make a nut crumble crust and replace white flour with nut flour. Or, for a sugar-free pumpkin pie alternative, try our pumpkin pudding recipe.   Drink plenty of water throughout the meal to help wash away any residue that gets stuck on your teeth. And after a day of enjoying Thanksgiving food, be sure to clean your mouth thoroughly by flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste. 

The Oral Health Benefits of Pumpkin… A Reason to Join the Pumpkin Craze

by MikeMeehan 10/26/2017 2:59 PM

While it may seem like the pumpkin theme is everywhere right now – pumpkin spice, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin picking – we’ve got some oral health benefits of pumpkin. A new twist on the pumpkin craze! Maybe you already knew there are great health benefits of pumpkin. I didn’t! And I’m even more thrilled to share the benefits pumpkin can have on your teeth and gums, two things near and dear to our hearts here at Delta Dental. So whether you’re a fan of all the pumpkin-ness going around this season, or if you’re just looking for a practical reason to love this orange squash, read on to learn about its abundance of vitamins and minerals. Nutritious pumpkin Adding pumpkin to your menu this season and year-round can have great results on your smile. Pumpkin is filled with mouth-friendly nutrients like iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc. This Halloween season, let’s make pumpkin lead the way for a delicious and healthy choice instead of all the cavity-causing sweets and candy. Here’s what pumpkin’s got: Iron keeps your gums healthy by replenishing the lining of them. Iron is found in pumpkin seeds. Magnesium is also found in pumpkin seeds. It works with calcium to help strengthen bones and teeth. Grab a handful of pumpkin seeds (or 1 oz.) and you’ve got 35 percent of your daily requirement. Vitamin A – All you need is 1 cup of pumpkin to get over 200 percent of the vitamin A you need daily. That’s a powerful cup! Vitamin A is a maintainer of healthy gums, keeping the mucous membranes in your mouth healthy. Zinc is another nutrient from pumpkin that keeps your gums healthy by replenishing the lining, especially in the areas next to your teeth. Vitamin C is a nutrient that helps fight infection (like gum disease), and it also can reduce inflammation in your gums. Pumpkins have a ton of this vitamin, just one cup is 20 percent of your daily requirement. Roast up those pumpkin seeds and find some healthy recipes (like a pumpkin smoothie) to indulge in pumpkin this season. What better reason to go pumpkin crazy than taking care of your overall health and the health of your smile.

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