Food facts for maintaining a healthy smile
1) Salt: Yeah we eat way too much salt and it dominates every meal we consume. But have you thought about using it as an anti-inflammatory? As a cheap home remedy, salt provides us with another way to take care of our gums. Swishing warm water with salt or doing a little scrub can reduce inflammation by osmosis and even kill off some bacteria. The abrasiveness even reduces plaque! So next time you’re in a pinch during a spontaneous camping trip, consider using a little salt to freshen up.
2) Cranberries: These little red berries are more than just sauce at Thanksgiving. They provide 13.3 mg of vitamin C in 1 cup which is important for collagen synthesis, β-oxidation, and reducing reactive oxidative species (anti-oxidant). The best part is that studies show cranberries may prevent bacteria from using adhesion molecules to hold onto teeth. The proanthocyanidins (PAC) in cranberry disrupts the formation of glucan (sugar polymers in plaque) by inhibiting glucosyltransferases. This could be revolutionary and research is still being conducted to see how this could affect oral hygiene management for our community.
3) Honey: Your everyday, local honey contains hydrogen peroxide which has antibacterial components, but I’m not talking about this kind of honey. Manuka honey from New Zealand contains other components involved in antibacterial activities such methylglyoxal. A study done in 2010 compared the effects of Manuka honey to chlorhexidine gluconate (an ingredient in mouthwash) and xylitol chewing gum on plaque levels. It was revealed that plaque inhibition by Manuka honey was similar to chlorhexidine and both of these reduced plaque better than xylitol. Manuka honey varies in the amount of methylglyoxal so be sure to check the UMF (unique manuka factor) which rates the honey based on methylglyoxal levels. Even regular day-to-day honey has some methylglyoxal so check it out!
~Paridhie Patel, Roseman ’17, chapter editor-in-chief