When you’re experiencing swollen gums that often bleed when flossing or may need a little extra care beyond your usual dental hygiene routine, it’s time to look past that and into your overall health. You may have heard the old adage “you are what you eat,” and with your gums and mouth that couldn’t be truer. If you want to improve your oral health simply by choosing your food and drink carefully, consider adding some of the following to your diet:

  1. Citrus Fruits: Fruits such as kiwis, grapefruits and strawberries are very high in Vitamin C. This is an essential nutrient for your mouth because it keeps your collagen levels high which, in turn, strengthens your delicate gum tissue.
  2. Fiber Filled Foods (Apples, Celery, Etc.): Vegetables and fruits that are low in acid are great for your oral health as they are full of water and offer a fibrous texture that acts as a natural cleansing agent for your gums by removing troublesome plaque and dislodging harmful bacteria.
  3. Onions: While you may not want to bite into one the same way you would an apple, raw onions are especially helpful with their powerful antibacterial properties and sulfur-containing complexes. Even though their positive qualities are more potent when eaten raw, eating cooked onions is better than nothing.
  4. Ginger Root: Ginger has long been classified as a healing plant in many holistic practices. It brings the same potential to your mouth with its ability to reduce inflammation in your gums and cheeks while promoting healthy soft tissue.
  5. Milk: As one of the most obvious on this list, milk has always touted large amounts of calcium, which is vital to your dental health. What you may not know, however, is that milk actually helps to reduce the amount of natural acid in your mouth, keeping your gums healthy and protected.
  6. Raisins: While these little snacks are often considered “nature’s candy,” it doesn’t mean they can’t help your gums as well. With their antioxidant abilities, they are key to helping you fight the battle of gum inflammation.
  7. Green Tea: Along with its many other benefits, studies have shown that regularly drinking green tea leads to aconsiderably lower risk of contracting gum disease thanks to the healthy beverage’s helpful antioxidants.

Even though treating gum disease and inflammation is possible, preventing it is the best step to take for proper oral health. Put these foods on your next shopping list and watch as they take effect on your sore and swollen gums.