Cavemen ate a diet composed primarily of meat, and they had exceptional teeth. So, if you regularly enjoy a T-bone steak or juicy pork chop, then you're on the right track to good oral health. Although you should also include vegetables, nuts and fruit in your diet, meat benefits your teeth in some interesting ways.
Meat Contains Powerful Antibacterial Amino Acids
Meats, such as pork, beef, chicken and turkey contain an amino acid that is capable of reducing the population of harmful bacteria in your mouth. This amino acid is L-arginine, a compound that the human body produces to assist with processes such as growth and development. L-arginine may also help with health conditions like erectile dysfunction and high blood pressure.
A study conducted in 2014 discovered that L-arginine could reduce the population of harmful oral bacteria. When researchers added L-arginine to biofilms (how oral bacteria live in human saliva), they found that it reduced the populations of harmful bacteria. In other words, L-arginine kills tooth decay-causing bacteria. This is a great reason to add more meat to your diet if you don't already enjoy meat on a daily basis.
Meat Strengthens Your Teeth
Meat also contains a high amount of protein. Protein is extremely important to the human body. Not only does your body use protein to carry out repairs and maintenance, but it also uses protein to create important chemicals like hormones. Meat contains phosphorous, which is a mineral (similar to calcium) that is essential to keeping your teeth strong. Eating meat regularly then will help to keep your teeth supplied with a regular supply of phosphorous.
Meat Cleans Your Teeth
Although this might surprise you, you can also use tougher meats like a natural toothbrush. Tough meats are fibrous and stringy, which means that when you eat them, they help to brush away bacteria colonies found in plaque. Those bacterial organisms will then end up in your stomach and washed away by a large amount of saliva produced through chewing.
Meat will do the same with food particles. For instance, if you eat a couple of strips of beef jerky after tucking into some bread, the tough jerky will help to brush the bread off your teeth. Less bread and bacteria on your teeth after meals is a benefit worth adding to your arsenal.
Do you enjoy meat? If so, remember the above benefits next time you eat a steak. If not, consider adding more meat to your diet to bolster your mouth's defences against oral bacteria. For more information about oral health, contact a local dentist.