Any dentist will tell you that the most important things that you can do to prevent cavities are to brush and floss your teeth several times a day and see your dentist regularly. However, there's nothing wrong with taking it a step further if you can. There are things that you can eat, drink, or do that will help bring your risk of cavities down even lower. Why not take the extra steps to protect your teeth if you can? Take a look at some of the surprising things that will help keep the cavities away.
If you love sushi, you're probably already familiar with wasabi, the green horseradish-based condiment that is usually served along with your selection of sushi. Wasabi contains isothiocyanates, chemical compounds that are responsible for the condiment's distinctive scent and taste. Those same chemical condiments interfere with the sucrose-dependent adherence of Streptococcus mutans cells. Streptococcus mutans is a bacteria that is responsible for causing cavities.
Preventing cavities isn't the only benefit of isothiocyanates – the compounds are also connected with cancer and blood clot prevention, among other things. Sushi is already a pretty guilt-free meal, but if you enjoy sushi with wasabi, you can now eat it knowing that you may actually be improving your dental and overall health.
If you've thought of red wine in connection with your teeth at all, it's probably because you've been told to stay away from it to avoid stains on your teeth. And that's a reasonable worry – red wine can be staining. On the other hand, stains are a lot easier to fix than cavities, and it turns out that red wine can actually prevent cavities, so maybe it's OK to treat yourself with a glass of red wine after all.
Scientists tested red wine with alcohol, red wine without alcohol, red wine with added grape seed extract, and water with 12% ethanol added. All of the red wine options were better at killing cavity-causing bacteria than the ethanol and water mixture. So the next time that you're craving a glass of red wine, go for it – just drink in moderation, and consider using a whitening toothpaste if you see stains.
Are you planning to spend some time out on the beach this summer? If so, you might be improving your dental health while you're swimming or playing volleyball. It turns out that the vitamin D that your body gets when you spend time in the sun can help reduce cavities. In fact, in clinical trials, scientists found that vitamin D supplementation resulted in a 50% drop in tooth decay.
Of course, you don't have to go out into the sun to get extra vitamin D. In the studies, vitamin D supplementation was accomplished with either UV radiation or dietary supplements like cod liver oil. But a day at the beach is definitely the most fun way to take care of your teeth. Just be sure to wear sunscreen to prevent unwanted burns.
Like red wine, coffee is associated with tooth staining, so it's best to drink it in moderation. However, scientists have found that coffee made with a particular type of coffee bean has an antibacterial property that helps keep teeth healthy and strong. The bean, Coffea canephora, is used to make about 30% of the world's coffee.
Researchers say that the effect is likely to be canceled out by adding cream and sugar to your coffee, so it's only helpful if you already enjoy black coffee. And because coffee can stain, you should still take care to consume it in moderation and clean your teeth thoroughly after drinking. But if you can't make it through the day without your cup of morning coffee, you may as well choose the coffee that fights cavity-causing bacteria.
Discussing you diet and lifestyle with your dentist can be helpful. Your dentist can let you know what foods, beverages, and activities can damage your teeth, as well as which ones might help you keep your teeth healthier. These are four great examples of how diet and lifestyle can really have an effect on your teeth. For more information, contact a local dental clinic like Grace Dental.