If you’re new to our dental clinic blog, check out previous posts where Dr. Shelley and Dr. Bennett have busted myths, old wives’ tales and commonly held beliefs about teeth and oral health – confirming “Tooth Truths” and exposing “Mouth Myths.”
So, is it a Tooth Truth or a Mouth Myth that an apple a day will keep the dentist away?
This one is BOTH a Tooth Truth and a Mouth Myth and here’s why …
Most certainly your diet has an effect on your dental and oral health. Vegetables and fruits are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect teeth and gums. Apples have been called “nature’s toothbrush” because chewing their fibrous texture massages and stimulates your gums, reduces cavity-causing bacteria and increases saliva flow. Saliva decreases acidity in your mouth, washes away particles of food and prevents a decay-causing dry mouth. Apples also contain tannins which can aid in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
The American Dental Association does recommend a diet rich in vegetables and fruits for prevention of oral cancers as well. Fruits high in ellagic acid can help in preventing oral cancer, as well as the isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts.
Vitamin C-rich citrus fruits support good oral health too. Individuals deficient in vitamin C may experience unhealthy and bleeding gums, which can lead to unstable teeth.
Chewing fibrous and hard vegetables stimulate the gums – strong, healthy gums are necessary to maintain healthy teeth. Plus carrots and celery are good sources of beta carotene, which your body uses to create vitamin A – a nutrient essential for building strong teeth.
Dark, leafy vegetables are an absolute treasure chest of nutrients that support oral health. Think spinach, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce, collard greens, endive, kale and mustard greens – they pack a boat-load of vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Phosphorus is stored in the teeth and bones and helps your body balance and absorb calcium and magnesium.
So you see, an apple a day is really great, but just an apple a day isn’t going to cut it. The American Dental Association recommends eating a balanced diet from all five major food groups (grain products, fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish and dairy) which includes a minimum of five servings per day of fruits and vegetables in order to receive their full benefits.
Also, please note that Dakota Dental Apple Valley dentistry warns that fruit does contain a high level of sugar and acidity which can erode teeth. To counteract this effect and minimize tooth damage, your Apply Valley dentists recommend rinsing your mouth out with water for 30 seconds after you’ve eaten. It should also be noted that eating fresh fruit is a much better alternative for your dental health than drinking fruit juices which contain highly concentrated amounts of sugar and acids.
To wrap up, your Dakota Dental Center would like to say that we do hope it’s not entirely your goal to “keep the dentist away!” Yes, please do eat a balanced, healthy diet that promotes good oral and dental health while practicing good personal dental care to “keep the dentist away” with unnecessary cavities, gum disease and oral health problems. But in addition to proactive, healthy eating and regular brushing and flossing, it is necessary to visit your Dakota Dental Center regularly for the preventative dental services and professional dental procedures that are essential in maintaining a healthy mouth, teeth and gums.
More important than “keeping the dentist away,” is keeping tooth decay, gum disease and preventable oral health problems away.
So get a fun outing scheduled on your calendar for a brisk, fall day of apple picking with friends and family – and make sure your next dental check up is on the calendar too!