June 2020 is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. And if that’s not included on your list of reasons to celebrate June, maybe you should think again. The fact is that fruits and vegetables are vital to our overall health and our oral health as well. June is an excellent time to enjoy a wide variety of fresh produce, most of which can help us to maintain healthy teeth and gums. You’ll be pleased to know that no matter what your preference is with regard to fresh produce, your oral health will benefit! Here’s how:
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables can help clean your teeth. When you enjoy crunchy produce – such as apples, carrots and celery, for example – it actually helps to clean your teeth, reduce the amount of bad bacteria inside your mouth, and stimulate the production of saliva. Of course, eating crunchy fruits and vegetables can never replace your daily oral hygiene routine, but it is a delicious way to keep your teeth and gums fresh and clean in between brushing and flossing!
- Many vegetables and fruits contain important nutrients. Antioxidants such as calcium, vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as folic acid, help to support healthy cell growth inside the mouth. For produce that is rich in vitamin C, choose apples, pineapples, strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes, for example. When we think of calcium, many of us think of dairy products. But leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale contain an impressive amount of calcium. Vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for building strong teeth, is most common in carrots, broccoli and spinach. Produce rich in folic acid includes oranges and other citrus fruits, as well as leafy green vegetables.
- Eat less sugar by turning to fruit as a healthy snack alternative. If you choose fruits for snacks, you’ll be less likely to eat foods that are bad for your oral health; foods like candy, cookies or pastry, for example. And the less sugar you eat, the less likely you are to develop tooth decay.
The USDA recommends that we consume between 5 and 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. That may sound like a lot, but it’s relatively easy to incorporate fresh produce into every meal, not to mention snacks and desserts. It’s particularly easy at this time of year, when so much fresh produce is readily available. So celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month by enjoying your favorite produce! Whatever that may be, it’s likely to benefit your overall health, as well as your oral health.