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Top 5 Pasta Dishes That Will Make Your Mouth Feel Good

Chicken noodle soup is one of the world's great comfort foods.
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Pasta is not only delicious, but versatile, easy and economical. Need one more reason to indulge? It's good for your oral health, too! Soft and easy to chew, pasta dishes are perfect if you're experiencing irritation from having a cavity filled, a molar pulled or a root canal. Patients undergoing treatment for oral cancer will also find that pasta dishes are easy to chew and digest.

Pasta dishes are an excellent way to introduce other foods into your diet that promote good oral health. Good nutrition is essential for healthy teeth and gums, and even helps prevent the development of periodontal (or gum) disease. So add vegetables, fruits, cheese and protein to your bowl of pasta, and watch the health benefits multiply!

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Remember to use some caution when choosing pasta sauces. If your mouth is sore, or you've been diagnosed with an inflammatory condition like lichen planus, avoid pastas with spicy diablo sauces or acidic lemon infusions.

Read on to learn more about five pasta dishes that are good for your mouth. No matter what dish you choose, don't forget to brush after every meal to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

The ultimate comfort food, chicken noodle soup is an excellent choice as a healthy meal after having any kind of dental work or oral procedure. It's easy to eat, requires little chewing and the warmth feels soothing in your mouth. Plus, the carrots, celery and onions add vitamins and fiber to your diet, while the chicken contributes a good source of protein to promote healing and provide strength. The chicken broth helps keep you hydrated and the sodium helps the body retain water.

However, whether your recipe calls for egg noodles, fusilli or spaghetti, it's the noodles that add carbohydrates, substance and comfort.

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Pasta primavera is light, healthy and can really do wonders for your mouth.
Pasta primavera is light, healthy and can really do wonders for your mouth.
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Loaded with vegetables, pasta primavera is good for you from the inside out. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is known to prevent oral cancer. Eating vegetables can also help prevent gingivitis, and vegetables that contain vitamin A help to form tooth enamel.

Many different vegetables can be mixed with your choice of pasta to create your own "custom" primavera, including broccoli, carrots, onions, red and green peppers, snow peas and asparagus. Add chicken or shrimp for a protein boost.

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Create your own favorite combination, then add a little olive oil, butter, parmesan cheese or white sauce, and voilà -- a dish of good taste and good health!

It's the ultimate comfort food: Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese is on everyone's list of favorite dishes. Soft and easy to chew, it's a perfect meal choice if your mouth is tender and recovering from dental work or oral surgery. It's no wonder that mothers serve mac-and-cheese to young children; it's a natural when new teeth are coming in.

What's more, cheese is good for dental and oral health. Studies have shown that hard and aged cheeses like cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss don't contribute to the development of cavities and may even help reduce the risk of decay. Cheese stimulates the flow of saliva, helping to keep the mouth clean, and buffer the effect of acids. Cheese also contains calcium that is good for building strong teeth and bones.

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In addition to old-fashioned mac-and-cheese, other pasta dishes such as ravioli, tortellini, lasagna and fettuccine alfredo are excellent ways to enjoy the nutritious benefits of cheese. So feel free to enjoy these "feel good" foods that really are good for you!

Pasta salad is a versatile and delicious addition to any dinner party or cookout.
Pasta salad is a versatile and delicious addition to any dinner party or cookout.
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A pasta salad is always a welcome addition to the menu, whether as a main course or a side dish. It's the fruits and vegetables you add to this versatile dish that help promote oral health. Try a warm pasta salad with sundried tomatoes, arugula, cucumber and Parmesan cheese, or a chilled penne mixed with apples, celery, walnut halves and garlic mayonnaise. Fusilli mixed with red bell pepper, onion, tomatoes and tuna offers a delicious mix of protein and antioxidant-rich vegetables. The pasta is relatively soft, which is great for people recovering from toothaches or oral surgery. In addition, eating raw vegetables can help keep your teeth and gums clean.

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Tomatoes are an important ingredient in many pasta dishes and sauces, and they may also play a key role in promoting oral health. Tomatoes contain lycopene, the chemical that gives tomatoes their color. Studies have shown that lycopene could help prevent oral cancer by helping the body to continue a natural process that gets rids of cells that aren't developing correctly.

Tomato-based red sauces may also include chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic for an additional nutritional boost. For a heartier dish packed with protein, try pasta bolognese -- a tomato-based sauce with ground beef or sausage added.

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Sources

  • American Dental Association. "Diet and Oral Health." (Accessed August 26, 2011) http://www.ada.org/2984.aspx#choosewise.
  • American Dental Association. "Your Diet and Your Teeth." ADA Dental Minute. (Accessed August 26, 2011) http://www.ada.org/50.aspx channelId=ac235543c95c4ca0898a6141718ca160&mediaId=8b2697246d62411dad5f815d33a692fc.
  • BBC News. "Oral cancer attacked by tomatoes." December 21, 2000. (Accessed August 26, 2011) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1080333.stm.
  • EatBreatheBlog.com. "Cooking for Oral Hygiene Health." January 7, 2011. (Accessed August 26, 2011) http://www.eatbreatheblog.com/cooking-for-oral-hygiene-health/
  • National Dairy Council. "Health Aspects of Cheese: What the Research Shows." (Accessed August 26, 2011) http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/Research/DairyCouncilDigestArchives/Pages/dcd80-6Page4.aspx
  • Oral Cancer Foundation. "Nutrition and Cancer." (Accessed August 26, 2011) http://oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/nutrition.htm.
  • Sheasby, Anne. Easy Pasta. Parragon Books, 2007.

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