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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
Store and its social media channels. He is a regular contributor to Agent Straight Talk, the
only consumer blog explaining the ins, outs and in-betweens of dental insurance and
discount dental plans. READ MORE

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Pizza Can Be Good for Oral Health If…

Sep 09, 2015

By Dean George

Pizza is as synonymous with the college environment as Saturday football games and all-nighter study sessions. But only one of the three may be good for your teeth.

Consider this: worrying about final exams may cause you to subconsciously grind your teeth. Betting on the wrong team and welshing on your bet can actually cause you to lose teeth.

Carefully considering your pizza toppings however, can have healthy benefits for both your teeth and your overall oral health.

I know what you’re thinking (it’s in my job description) – you’re thinking I’m about to make a pitch for a MacGyver-type pizza laden with tofu, eggplant and bean sprouts. Wrong! Those ingredients may have some health benefits, but many may think adding them to pizza would have as much taste as a week-old cardboard pizza box.

It is possible to build a pizza that both tastes good and is good for your teeth, so here we go:

Consider using a whole grain or whole wheat crust. Whole grains consist of the entire grain kernel (bran, germ and endosperm) as opposed to refined grains that remove much of the nutritional value during processing. Researchers in Canada have found that consuming whole grain foods can reduce gum inflammation and help prevent periodontal disease.

Other healthy pizza crust options include split flour crust, whole wheat tortillas or cauliflower crust. All of these are rich in fiber and are good for heart health.

Choosing the right kind of sauce is essential in building an oral healthy pizza, and what’s a good pizza without a tasty tomato sauce, right? Tomatoes are a great source of potassium, manganese and vitamins C and K, all of which are beneficial to our chompers.

What’s important is where you get your tomatoes. Jarred tomato sauce often contains sugar and corn syrup, both of which are definite no-no’s for healthy teeth, and if ingested in large enough quantities may qualify you for a future career in sumo wrestling.

Canned tomatoes sometimes use Bisphenol A (BPA) in their can liners to extend the product’s shelf life, but that has proven harmful to a human’s shelf life. Using fresh tomatoes is best.

Other sauce options that can be used as standalones, or mixed with your tomato sauce to create a sofrito sauce (lightly sautéed onions and garlic in olive oil), are pesto, olive oil or crushed garlic.

Omitting pepperoni and sausage from pizza may sound un-American, but (sad to say) these processed meats and ham are high in sodium, saturated fat, and nitrates. If the thought of eating a meatless pizza makes you queasy, try substituting chicken and turkey breast for the traditional pepperoni and sausage. Both contain vitamin B and are high in protein.

Cheese Toppings
Okay, let’s just concede this point: pizza without some kind of cheese is faux pizza, and I’m pretty sure it may be illegal in many states. As previously mentioned in this blog space, cheese is a great source of proven tooth decay fighters like calcium, phosphate, and lactic acid, so do the math with me. Add the yummy factor of cheese, plus its healthy oral health factor, and that equals a green light for using cheese.

We recommend natural cheeses like fresh mozzarella, feta or ricotta cheese, or low fat cheeses like part-skim mozzarella, light mozzarella or your favorite low-fat shredded cheese.  Of course, being the bright readers that you are, you know you must use that cheesy goodness in moderation.

You’ve heard it said, “The more colorful the vegetable, the better it is for you.” Think of that pizza you’re making as an artist palette, and make like Walt Disney discovering Technicolor! Load on the green, red, yellow and orange peppers if you like color. Garlic is loaded with allinase, an immunity-boosting enzyme, onions contain vitamin C, and black and green olives are a healthy fat and low in cholesterol.

Don’t forget to leave room for vitamin B-rich mushrooms (I’m a conscientious objector but knock yourselves out).  Leafy greens like spinach leaves, arugula and kale are chock full of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K, which are good for teeth. We should also mention leafy greens are rich in AKA phytonutrients that help protect against gum disease and oral cancer.

Mamma mia! There you have it. A pizza that looks good, is nutritious, tastes great, and helps protect your pizza pie hole from dental problems.

As tasty as eating healthy pizza is, there’s more to boosting your dental health than personally contributing to the 3 billion pizzas sold annually in the U.S. Brushing twice daily for two minutes a day, flossing regularly, using an oral rinse and regular dental visits are still vital to keeping your pearlies in pizza-chomping shape.

This being a great country, there are as many dental plans available as there are pizza toppings! To find a plan available in your area, click here.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and for more good oral health tips, follow us 24/7 on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+, and LinkedIn

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Copyright 2015, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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