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March Foods for Dental Health: 1800Dentist.com

Healthy eating is important to life as choosing the right foods provide a body with the essential vitamins and minerals for general well being and to promote dental health. Although there are plenty of cheap eats for dental health available year round, seasonal bounties should also be added to the mix as variety can help bring additional dental health benefits as well as stave off boredom. With spring right around the corner, 1-800-DENTIST presents some of the most tasty seasonal foods packed with additional oral health benefits.

Fava Beans

Ever since character Hannibal Lector infamously said "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti," in Silence of the Lambs, the Spring crop has gotten a bad wrap. That is a shame as the seasonal food (typically only available from March to May) is an amazing source of many nutrients essential for healthy teeth and bones.

Cannibalism aside, fava beans can be prepared and eaten in a number of ways including soups, dips or even as add-ons to a whole grain pasta dish. The legume originally grew in Southwest Asia and North Africa and has been cultivated for over 5,000 years. Spring is the peak season for fava crops, providing individuals with an opportunity to get nutrients like phosphorus, vitamin K and other oral health boosting components.

Each one of those compounds contribute to dental health and general well being. Phosphorus is a main component in teeth and bones, within the oral cavity it helps strengthen tooth enamel. Vitamin K is known for helping with blood coagulation, a must for individuals recovering from oral surgery. Those important nutrients backed by the high levels of antioxidants, protein, foliate, thiamine, zinc, potassium,  vitamin A and iron put seasonal fava beans high on the 'must-eat' list.


Honeydew Melons

The moist, sweet, green flesh of American honeydew melons are extremely popular as the food is fat-free, cholesterol free, low in sodium and an excellent source of foliate. The fruits first come into season in Spring and individuals looking to increase their Vitamin C intake for dental health need not look any further than one thick slice of the fruit.

Healthy doses of Vitamin C can speed up the recovery process associated with dental treatments such as oral surgery (including gum grafts and bone grafts). The nutrient (categorized as an ascorbic acid ) has been clinically proven to speed up the body's  natural recovery system of growing and regenerating healthy tissue and According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) low levels of Vitamin C will hinder the recovery time associated with oral surgery.

Artichokes

Underneath the thistles and tough flesh, is the edible and delicious meat of the artichoke. There is no arguing that the appearance of this seasonal bounty maybe intimidating at first but the meat on the leaves and the entire artichoke heart provide fiber, potassium and foliate, (important nutrients that assist with DNA and RNA production).

When it comes to artichokes, fiber provides many notable benefits for oral health. Studies have shown eating a diet filled with natural high-fiber foods as research has found that it can reduce the odds of tooth lose by around 30 percent. One theory is that fiber dense foods are provide a gentle type of natural abrasion, perfect for removing excess dental plaque, the culprit behind cavities, tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss.

The best time to try all these dental friendly foods is when they are in season as supplies are plentiful and the costs are much lower than trying to buy these foods off-season. Individuals can find these options plus other spring bounties including asparagus, avocado and mustard greens in supermarkets, 99 cent stores and farmer's markets across the nation. A quick trip to a dentist can provide even more seasonal food options for dental health and a search of the Vegetarian Times (www.vegetariantimes.com) database will provide delicious food preparation ideas for these fruits and vegetables and more.

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