It’s important to remember that your oral health and systemic health are intimately connected. Not only are fruits and vegetables essential for your body, they can dramatically improve your oral health, making them an excellent complement to your regular dental checkups.
And now a new study has shown that they’re also good for your mood, as every serving of fruits and vegetables increases your happiness in the long run.
Fruits and Vegetables Good for Oral Health
When you’re looking at your diet, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables to supply your mouth’s vital needs. Some of these important nutrients include:
- Calcium is the primary mineral in your teeth and bones. Although most of think of dairy as the go-to source for calcium, many vegetables are rich in calcium, including spinach and cruciferous vegetables like kale, collard greens, and broccoli.
- Iron is essential for your blood, and if you don’t have enough of it, your oral health can suffer as well as the rest of your body. Spinach, prunes, and dried apricots are all rich in iron.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps the body maintain your skin and regulate digestion. If you don’t have enough vitamin B3, you can develop a condition called pellagra, which can cause canker sores, tongue irritation, and other mouth problems. Mushrooms and potatoes are high in niacin. While it’s not technically a vegetable, roasted coffee contains very high levels of niacin, which is readily absorbed by the body.
- Vitamin C plays many roles in the body, helping the immune system and helping build gum tissue. Unhealthy gums is an early sign of vitamin C deficiency, known as scurvy. There are many good sources of vitamin C, including oranges, apples, peppers, sweet potatoes, and more.
- Vitamin D is essential for helping your body utilize calcium in building bones and teeth. You should make most of your vitamin D by getting sun exposure, but if your levels are low (common, especially in the winter), then you should eat mushrooms, especially maitake, portobello, and chanterelle, which are very high in vitamin D.
- Vitamin A promotes the health of your salivary glands, which means more saliva to regenerate teeth, regulate pH, and kill oral bacteria. Carrots, cantaloupe, hot peppers, mangoes, and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin A.
In addition, eating many fruits and vitamins are good for your oral health. Although many fruits contain high levels of sugar, they are combined with enough water and fiber to keep sugar levels from spiking in the mouth so they can help prevent cavities. The mild acids in many fruits also help regulate pH in the mouth so they don’t drop to dangerous levels, and, along with crunchy particles, help clean your teeth.
Happier Living with Fruits and Vegetables
You might think that office cake is going to make you happy, but according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, it’s fruits and vegetables that make the biggest contribution to your long-term happiness. For this study, nearly 12,400 adults in Australia were asked to keep food diaries. These food diaries were looked at in 2007, 2009, and 2013, when diarists were also surveyed about their psychological wellbeing.
Researchers discovered that every serving of fruits and vegetables consumed led to a net increase in happiness, up to a total of eight portions a day, when no net benefits occurred. The improved happiness occurred within 24 months, persisted for a long time, and was consistent even when corrected for socioeconomic status.
You might be thinking that the happiness boost can’t be that big, but it actually was quite significant: the equivalent of an unemployed person getting a job. That’s a big boost!
Benefits in the Short and Long-Term
These benefits are different from most benefits linked to fruits and vegetables. Most of the time when people talk about the benefits of fruits and vegetables, these benefits are distant and intangible, such as a reduced cancer risk, or even a reduced risk of gum disease. But with a happiness benefit linked to fruits and vegetables, it might be hoped that more people will add fruits and vegetables into their diet every day.
Another way to improve your oral health and your happiness is to see your dentist regularly. If you are looking for a dentist in Wilmington, NC, please call 910-392-6060 today for an appointment with Dr. Kuzma at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.