Eat and Drink Your Way to a Healthy Mouth

Remember this article about the great effects cranberry and red wine can have on your teeth? Well, it seems like the list of benefits just keeps on growing.

I’m Dr. Randy LaFrom of LaFrom Dentistry, and I want to share this little tidbit of information with you to help you eat your way to a healthy mouth. That’s right, I said eat. To achieve healthy teeth and gums, your diet is a very important contributing factor.

It has been proven that compounds present in red wine and cranberries can prevent cavities and plaque build-up. The compounds, called polyphenols, do this by inhibiting the growth of a molecule produced by the bacteria streptococcus mutans. These bacteria, also known as S. mutans, break down sugar to molecules called glucans, which allow bacteria to stick to your teeth and damage your teeth’s natural protection: enamel. Polyphenols act as helpers to the mouth’s natural defense system and, in turn, help to keep your teeth and gums healthier longer.

In addition to protecting your mouth, cranberries may be the key to a variety of health conditions. Research is being done to identify the relationship between cranberries and bacterial anti-adhesion, high antioxidant capacity, heart health, and anti-cancer properties.

That being said, it is important to not trade your traditional at-home dental hygiene practices for downing glass after glass of cranberry juice or red wine. Most cranberry juice contains added sugar, and even “all natural” juices may not be as natural as they claim to be. What you learned as a little kid still holds true. Sugar is one of your teeth’s worst enemies.

Of course, nothing protects your teeth more, and prevents you from potentially having long-term, serious dental problems, than having regular dental exams and cleanings. I like to see my patients every six months to ensure that their teeth and gums are healthy and functioning properly. In addition to a dental cleaning, I will also screen for things such as gum disease and oral cancer and discuss the overall health and appearance of your mouth. If you are due for a check-up, contact my office at (408) 996-8595 to make an appointment. My team and I look forward to seeing you!

~ by cupertinodentist on January 7, 2011.

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