Summer is a pretty sweet time to be a tooth. Not only is there plenty of delicious seasonal fare on the table, much of it will help keep your entire body, including your mouth, in
tip-top condition. The teeth, gums and tissues that line the mouth and tongue and the bone that supports your teeth all rely on an appropriate mix of vitamins and minerals to maintain good health. In several studies, nutrients in fruits and vegetables such as dietary fiber, potassium, and antioxidants – have been associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease1 and many cancers including oral cancer.2 If you see these options on the picnic table this summer, go on, have seconds. Apples. An apple a day keeps food particles away doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as that other saying, but it’s true. The crunchiness in apples and other firm fruits and vegetables stimulates saliva flow, which helps wash away lingering food pieces and buffers harmful acids. Munch away! Strawberries and melons. These fruits have high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain and stimulates the flow of saliva, helping your oral health in the same way apples do. You can also snack on a couple cups of cantaloupe to up your intake of potassium, a nutrient that helps promote good bone density.3 Spinach. Popeye was onto something. The Vitamin K found in spinach helps your body absorb the calcium in other foods more efficiently. A spinach salad with low-fat cheese and some strawberries is a summer salad combo that can’t be beat.
1Joshipura, KJ. Hu, FB, Manson JE, et. al. The Effect of Fruit and Vegetable Intake on Risk for Coronary Heart Disease. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:1106-1114.
2 Block G, Patterson B, Subar A. Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutrition and Cancer. 1992;18(1):1-29.