Dental care is a very complex theme. Both scientists and dentists have differing opinions, only to confuse us even more. One says we should brush our teeth with a soft “manual” toothbrush, the other says, no, you should definitely use an electric brush. Yes, and fluoride is good, only to told later, actually it is not good. I’m confused, which is it? My favorite Schwabe is doing everything possible to correctly care for his teeth and still suffers at the hands of a dentist. I, on the other hand, haven’t had a cavity since I was seven and the worst thing I ever experienced was breaking a molar on a kernel of popcorn – I love those crunchy bit at the bottom of the bowl!
This past week, I read an article in a German newspaper stating that there are actually foods, yes FOODS that prevent tooth decay. Now this is a first…and a little exciting to read!
Okay, nobody has to tell us twice that candy isn’t good for our teeth. Thank goodness I’m not a sweets aficionado. Actually, I’m pretty sure I have a glucose-type sugar intolerance. Lucky for me, I guess. Though, was pretty disappointing as a kid. Easter was not that exciting, sitting around with retched tummy ache and unbearable nausea after one very sweet, very delicious chocolate egg.
Candy. We all know it is bad. It sticks to your teeth and gets stuck in the cracks between them. It’s no surprise that all these sticky bits, clinging away, gradually lead to tooth decay. But before we blame sugar, tooth decay is a multi-factor occurrence. Acid produced from the breakdown of carbs also plays a role. Really? Yep. But NEW news — to me at least — there are also foods that support tooth protection.
According to a Japanese study, their beloved SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS help prevent tooth decay by preventing bacteria growth. Thanks to the so-called lentinan content. It’s a beta-glucan that has anti-microbial properties and targets the type of bacteria that causes tooth decay. Another study in America, says that CHEESE also helps prevent tooth decay. It stimulates the flow of saliva and as a consequence food particles are swept away faster than fast, no, actually just faster, disturbing the bacteria from carrying out its work. It also contains important minerals essential for the stabilization of bone mineral and contributes to the hardening of enamel. Right on cheese. So here we learn, not only is it good to eat cheese, it’s also recommended that we eat it at the end of a meal. We don’t need to tell the French that (remember reading Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield? Even then, the French knew that cheese is good to close a meal).
Good news for cheese lovers. And….indulgent CHOCOLATE lovers. We may need to be concerned a little bit about our waistlines, but not our teeth. Cocoa also protects teeth by preventing plaque from forming. Who would have expected that from cocoa? Keep in mind, this does not apply for the cocoa in milk chocolate, there’s just too much of that sticky sugar. Dark chocolate on the other hand has a high proportion of cocoa solids. So how about switching over to the dark side?
And then of course, there are the compounds found in GREEN TEAthat act just like those in cocoa. Green tea controls bacteria, lowers the acidity of saliva and also contains a natural fluoride, which strengthens the enamel. Though to experience it’s true power, you need to make sure it steeps for at least 3 minutes.
It’s not just those CRUNCHY FOODS, like carrots, celery and apples the cause saliva to flow. Yes, saliva is good. It neutralizes the acids formed by bacteria and helps keep your teeth healthy and you happily smiling. Surprisingly, shiitake mushrooms, cheese, dark chocolate and green tea are also good for your smile and protect your pearly whites!
In any case, I also have a super tip for brushing your teeth. When using a “manual” toothbrush, rather than holding it with your fist, grip it using only your thumb and index finger. This prevents unintentional gum tissue injury from pushing too hard while brushing. Personally, I prefer to use an electric toothbrush – lightly held on the teeth, it does all the work by itself. Love that. But of course, there is still work to be done. Of course, I try not to forget to use those small brushes and dental floss for those tricky little areas.