If you enjoy spicy foods, then you may like chili peppers. These vegetables are very versatile and are used in both savory and sweet dishes. Capsaicin is the active compound that gives chili peppers their intense heat, and in addition to its extraordinary spiciness, capsaicin may also help relieve muscle and joint pain.
Chili peppers also have a number of effects on the oral cavity, and while they are considered a healthy food, moderation may be recommended for those sensitive to very spicy foods. Here are some effects that chili peppers can have on your mouth:
Decreased Risk for Infection
Chili peppers are rich sources of vitamin C, which may have a beneficial effect on your gum health. Vitamin C helps support healthy collagen production and may help keep gum inflammation and bleeding at bay. In addition, the capsaicin in chili peppers is thought to have potent antibacterial properties, and because of this, may lower your risk for developing gum infections, abscessed teeth, and gingivitis.
Chili peppers may also help promote optimal salivary flow, which can help diminish oral infections. If you suffer from dry mouth associated with certain medications or autoimmune disorders, talk to your dentist about how you might benefit from eating chili peppers.
While chili peppers have some beneficial effects on the oral cavity, it may also raise the risk for negative effects. Because of the capsaicin content, chili peppers can cause tissue burns on the roof of your mouth, your tongue, or even the lining of your cheeks.
If your mouth begins to burn while eating chili peppers, resist the urge to drink water. This will only distribute the oils more, further irritating your mouth. Instead of water, eat a piece of bread or take a few sips of milk. This will help deactivate the heat and soothe the burned areas of your mouth. If you develop blisters or tissue wounds inside your mouth as a result of eating chili peppers, see your dentist as soon as possible.
If you enjoy eating chili peppers, visit your dentist on a regular basis. He or she will monitor the status of your oral cavity to make sure that you are not at risk of developing an infection related to tissue burns. If you are in pain because of a capsaicin burn in your mouth, your dentist may prescribe an anesthetic gel or enzyme-based oral rinse to help relieve your discomfort.