Dental Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help keep your teeth smooth and white, and your gums pink and strong. Sugary snacks can create plaque, encouraging bacterial growth and dental decay, while crisp vegetable sticks and high-fiber fruits can satisfy snack attacks while protecting dental health. Healthy eating, along with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist, will keep your teeth at their best.

Tooth Decay Prevention

Plaque is a naturally-occurring thin layer of bacteria and other components which coats your teeth. Sugars and starches in your food mix with the plaque naturally found in your mouth to form acids which erode your teeth, causing tooth decay, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' Lifestyle and Wellness specialists. Raw vegetables like carrot sticks, as well as fresh, fiber-rich fruits like grapes, apples, oranges and bananas, make excellent low-sugar snacks that will not contribute to tooth decay.

Gum Disease Prevention

High fiber fruits and vegetables not only help prevent tooth decay, but also stimulates saliva flow which, according to the Wyoming Valley Health Care System Wellness Library, is the best natural defense against gum disease. The British Dental Health Foundation concurs that a diet containing vitamins, minerals, and fresh fruits and vegetables can help prevent gum disease, a condition which leads to tooth decay and halitosis. However, fresh fruit does contain sugar, so the British Dental Health Foundation recommends following a fruit snack with an alkaline food like cheese, and drinking plenty of water.

Oral Cancer Prevention

The Northwestern Health Sciences University reports that a diet high in fruit and vegetable consumption helps prevent oral cancer. Over 29,000 new cases of oral cancer are reported in the U.S. every year, and this type of cancer has a high mortality rate. Increased intakes of both fruits and vegetables were shown to have significant oral cancer prevention value, Northwestern reports, with citrus fruits having the most dramatic impact.

Keywords: dental health, healthy teeth, healthy diet

About this Author

Cindy Hill has practiced law since 1987 and maintained a career in freelance writing since 1978. Hill has won numerous fiction and poetry awards and has published widely in the field of law and politics. She is an adjunct instructor of ethics and communications.