Spring is in the air, flowers are blooming, and those of us with gardens are busy getting down in the dirt to grow the plants we love. But did you know some of those plants can help improve your oral health? If you have (or have been thinking of starting) a vegetable garden, here are some healthy, nutritious choices that can also help protect your teeth.
Celery has strings that actually help clean plaque off your teeth and can even get to areas of your mouth that are difficult for you to reach with your toothbrush. Other crisp fruits and veggies (such as apples and raw carrots) can also help remove plaque and freshen your breath.
Garlic is known to prevent plaque and can also help prevent soreness. If you have a tooth or an area of your gum that’s giving you trouble, you can put garlic on the spot to relieve soreness until you can make it in to the dentist.
Cucumber is rich in fiber and actually massages the gums to increase blood flow and prevent diseases.
Basil is known to have anti-bacterial properties that kills germs and prevents disease, including gum disease and gingivitis.
Bloodroot is an herb with anti-microbial properties that kills germs and is even used as an ingredient in some toothpastes.
Rosemary is high in calcium, which helps build strong teeth and bones.
Cloves are another effective painkiller for easing mouth soreness. It’s also highly anti-inflammatory, which means it’s effective at combatting inflammatory diseases like gingivitis and gum disease. It also has anti-bacterial properties.
Mint, Nutmeg and Cilantro are all known to have anti-bacterial properties to help keep your mouth healthy.
Cayenne, Sage, Turmeric and Ginger all have strong, anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them effective at battling gum disease and gingivitis, both of which are inflammatory diseases.
Leafy Greens are rich in folic acid, which helps keep mouths healthy in addition to promoting cell growth throughout the body. So whether you prefer kale, bok choy, spinach, or just lettuce for a hearty salad, make sure to include some leafy greens in your garden – the darker the better.
Onions contain sulfur compounds that help get rid of the bacteria that cause tooth decay, but only when eaten raw.
Whatever you decide to plant in your own garden, make sure they’re healthy fruits and vegetables that you actually enjoy eating. If you know that you hate eating kale, then don’t waste time and space in your garden growing something you’ll never eat. Make room for the foods you love, especially the ones you know will help keep you and your mouth healthy and happy.
But that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to try new things. They say everything tastes better when it comes from your own garden because nothing makes you appreciate it more than when you put in the work and get to watch the fruits of your labor literally grow before your eyes. In addition to making your tongue happy, your teeth will thank you for it, too.