Archive for May 2014

6 Foods & Recipes for Better Oral Health

6 Foods & Recipes for Better Oral Health

By now, everyone knows to avoid sugary foods and dark sodas to keep our teeth bright, healthy, and sparkling, but what about specific foods we can choose to promote better oral health? Your food choices can either lead to tooth decay, or put you on a trajectory to good dental health.

“The teeth and gums mirror what’s going on in the rest of your body. Therefore, what you consume influences the health of your smile,” Dr. Shawn Frawley said in an e-booklet by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. “That’s why it’s important to think carefully about making the right food choices.” Here are 6 foods and recipes that won’t throw you off the track of good dental health.

 

 

1. Cheese

Cheese contains calcium and phosphorus, which are good “superheroes” that fight against tooth decay. As we age, acid breaks down enamel, which is the translucent layer that protects teeth. “Though as adults our teeth are already formed, it’s helpful to eat calcium and phosphorus to rebuild the tooth enamel,” Deepinder Sahota, DDS, a consumer advisor spokesperson for the American Dental Association based in Fremont, California told Prevention. This recipe for lightened-up four cheese pasta will give you that calcium and phosphorous kick that’s great for your teeth, and for your body in general!

 

What you’ll need:

  • 1¼ cups skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 1½ tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups cooked whole-wheat spiral pasta
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower (about ½ a medium head), steamed

 

 

What you’ll do:

 

Grab a medium saucepan, and combine milk, cream cheese, flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. For a little kick, throw in some cayenne pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until mixture comes to a slow boil, 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining cheeses and mustard until cheese melts. In a bowl, toss pasta with cauliflower; pour cheese mixture over top, and stir. Serve immediately. You’ll have 7 servings, so feed the family or have leftovers for a quick and healthy lunch later!

2. Apples

According to New York City cosmetic dentist Timothy Chase, as you snack on apples, and other crunchy fruits and veggies, you’re actually cleaning your teeth while you eat. Speaking to USA Today, Chase also mentioned that you’re pulling double duty because these snacks massage the gums, which increase blood flow, making your gums healthier too. And one more huge perk is that apples and those types of foods lead to an increase in saliva, which boosts oral health as well. Here’s a nice summertime spin on a salad with apples–Cookie + Kate‘s kale salad with apple, cranberries, and pecans.

What you’ll need:

Salad:

  ½ cup pecans

  8 ounces kale

  4 to 5 medium radishes

  ½ cup dried cranberries (or cherries)

  1 medium Granny Smith apple

  2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
Dressing:

 

  3 tablespoons olive oil

  1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

  1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard

  1½ teaspoons honey

  Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

What you’ll do: 

Preheat the oven to 350, and spread the pecans on a baking tray. Toast until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes, turning them once or twice to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Remove the tough kale stems from the leaves, and discard the stems. Use a chef’s knife to chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant. Thinly slice the radishes (this is easier to do if you first chop off the root end so you can place the base of the radish flat against your cutting board), and add them to the bowl. Coarsely chop the pecans and cherries and add them to the bowl. Chop the apple into small pieces and add it to the bowl as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. In a smaller separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss until the salad is evenly coated with dressing. For best results, let the salad marinate in the dressing for 10-20 minutes before serving.

 

3. Pineapple

Frawley explained to Boston.com that pineapples can actually work as a natural teeth-whitening agent because they contain bromelain, a natural stain remover. Bromelain also eats away at plaque, making for a healthier mouth since plaque wrecks tooth enamel and causes decay. Again, pineapple increases saliva, becoming an ultimate tooth-cleaning food. So wake up and start your day with this recipe for pineapple oatmeal from CC Recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • shredded coconut

What you’ll do: 

 

Combine the milk, water, salt, oats and pineapple in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium and stir occasionally until mixture comes almost to a boil. Within 5-7 minutes, most of the liquid will be absorbed and the oats will be done. Then stir in brown sugar, vanilla extract, and raisins. Pour oats into bowl, and top with shredded coconut. Feel free to get creative and throw in blueberries or any other fruit you’d like!

 

4. Dark green vegetables

We all know plenty of reasons to fill up on veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale, and now Women’s Day is adding another. All of these deep green veggies have a mineral compound, which forms a film over teeth, protecting against stains caused by foods that aren’t as tooth-friendly. Try this caramelized broccoli from Food & Wine for a delicious tooth protector!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads of broccoli (1¼ pounds total), stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 

What you’ll do:

 

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover and cook over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, which will take approximately 8 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook about 7 minutes. The broccoli should be tender and the water will be evaporated. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper, and cook another 3 minutes. The garlic should be golden brown. Season the broccoli with salt and black pepper to taste, drizzle with the lemon juice, and serve.

5. Fish

According to WebMD, says the benefits of fish regarding dental health come from the omega-3 fatty acids. And if fish aren’t your thing, try flax instead. “People who consume diets high in omega-3s are more resistant to inflammation and infection,” Anthony M. Iacopino, DMD, PhD, stated. “We also think they may be more resistant to gum disease.”

 

Gum disease causes inflammation, making it one of the biggest threats to dental health. It damages the tissues that connect the tooth to the bone. By reducing inflammation, the goal is to reduce the gum disease threat as well. Try Cooking Light‘s salmon with mango-kiwi relish to fight inflammation.

What you’ll need:

Salmon:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • Cooking spray

Relish

  • ½ cup diced peeled mango
  • ½ cup cubed peeled kiwifruit
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice

What you’ll do:

 

For the salmon, combine first four ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add the salmon to the bag, seal, and marinate 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the salmon and discard the marinade. Coat your pan with cooking spray. Cook the salmon for 5 minutes on each side, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Prepare the relish while the fish cooks. Combine the mango and remaining ingredients. Serve over salmon and enjoy!

 

6. Onions

Your friends won’t be happy about this one, but your teeth will. Onions receive negative attention for causing bad breath, but according to the Acevedo Dental Group, onions contain thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates. These sulfur compounds cause a decrease in bacteria, protecting your mouth from tooth decay. Onions should be eaten raw to get the full benefit, and there are many ways we can work onions into out diet. Try this asparagus, pecorino and red onion salad from Anne Burrell via Food Network.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch pencil asparagus, tough bottom stems removed
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup coarsely grated aged pecorino
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

What you’ll do:

 

Cut the asparagus, including the tips, into very thin slices crosswise, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the red onion and pecorino. Then toss in the vinegar, olive oil, and salt. The salad will be fairly heavily dressed. The vinegar will “cook” or tenderize the asparagus. Do this about an hour before serving to let the flavors marry. Enjoy!

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Take a Bite Out of Summer

WHEN THE WEATHER HEATS UP, the first thing we want to grab is a refreshing snack and/or beverage. Often we are in the park, out on the lake, or simply in a position with limited options. When making these decisions unprepared, we often do not think about how what we’re ingesting affects our smiles. Here’s a handy list of foods and beverages that may do unexpected damage when we’re out having fun.

Watch Your Intake:

Coffee

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I reach for when I spring out of bed is a coffee. And we all have those days where we need a little help to maneuver the day. That’s where caffeine and our beloved coffee come into play. The problem is, teeth are porous and coffee can significantly dull your pearly whites. Consider lightening up your coffee with cream or milk. And for those of us with lactose intolerances, non-dairy creamer works, too!

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Problems

Would you like to know how to take a perfectly healthy vegetable and make it an offender? Soak it in vinegar and sugar! It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to know that brine is not healthy for your teeth. Enjoy your pickled fare, but do so in moderation.

Sports Drinks

During the summer months, everyone is outside a lot more, and much more active in general. We need to replenish what we sweat, but are you relying too heavily on sports drinks? Many are touted as “healthy,” but beware…The sugar and acids wreak havoc on your teeth (and weight!). Watch the sports drinks intake, and remember that water is your friend.

Diet Soda

Much like sports drinks, diet sodas have been hailed as the healthier alternative to full-flavored sugary soda. But even though they are sugar-free, the acidity they contain is harmful to tooth enamel.

Barbecue Sauce

Keeping in mind the porosity of teeth, barbecue sauces contain loads of sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, and sometime other dyes that contribute to staining and other damage. Tread lightly!

Helpful Tips:

  • Don’t swish around or hold sport or fruit drinks in your mouth.
  • After drinking or eating, tooth enamel is softened, so wait an hour before brushing your teeth so you don’t harm the softened enamel.
  • Eat more fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers and celery. They are much healthier all around!
  • Any time you are unable to floss and brush after eating, chew sugar free gum and/or rinse your mouth with water.

Enjoy your summer! And if you have any questions about this information, please contact us and let’s discuss!

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