National Eat Your Vegetables Day!

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It's #NationalEatYourVegetablesDay - Did you know that eating veggies can improve your dental health?

The foods you choose, when and how often you eat them not only affect your general health, but also the health of your teeth and gums.

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry highlighted some great benefits to a healthy diet and how it effects not only your overall health - but your dental health as well.

Some of the best foods for healthy teeth are fresh fruits and veggies because of their nutritional and mouth health benefits. For example, crisp fruits and raw vegetables, like apples, carrots and celery, help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath. Many fruits and vegetable contain lots of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, that help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection. Leafy salad greens contain lots of folic acid, a member of the B vitamin family, which promotes a healthy mouth and supports cell growth throughout the entire body.

For healthy teeth and gums this, look for these fruits and veggies in your local grocery or farmers market.

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Apples and Citrus Fruit

While not a substitute for brushing and flossing, eating an apple or other fiber-filled fruits like oranges, carrots or celery can help clean your teeth. And while sugary apple juice may contribute to tooth decay, fresh apples are less likely to cause problems. This is because chewing the fibrous texture of apples stimulates your gums, further reducing cavity-causing bacteria.

Be sure your diet includes citrus and other fresh fruits rich in vitamin C, such as apples, pears, strawberries, pineapples, tomatoes and cucumbers -- all rich in vitamin C.

Carrots, Celery, and Root Vegetables

Just like apples and oranges, chewing raw carrots, celery and other hard root vegetables stimulates the gums to help clean your teeth! Carrots and celery are also good sources of beta carotene, which your body needs to create vitamin A -- a nutrient essential for building strong teeth.

Leafy Greens

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Leafy green and dark, multi-colored vegetables such as lettuce and kale, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, chard and other greens are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain and improve oral health. Nutrients found in these dark green foods include vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Phosphorus is stored in your teeth and bones to help your body balance and absorb calcium and magnesium.

In summary, a healthy and well balanced diet is highly recommended for your dental and overall health.