As doctors and moms have been screaming from rooftops since the dawn of time, your diet plays a very important role in health care. Not only do your food choices and eating patterns affect your overall health, but they have a tremendous impact on your dental health as well.
The Wrong Foods Can Cause Cavities and Gum Disease
Intake of the right nutrients can have a beneficial effect on your oral health, and on the flip side, certain types of food promote the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth. For instance, if (like most Americans) you eat a lot of fast food, fizzy drinks, and high-sugar snacks, you are more likely to develop dental health issues.
This is because sugar “feeds” bad bacteria, which release acids that break down the surface of your teeth and damage your gums. Soft, sticky, fatty and acidic foods can further aggravate the problem by allowing the buildup of plaque on and between your teeth. Over time, this can raise the risk of periodontal disease (gum disease).
The Link between Dental Health and Nutrition
In addition to causing tooth decay and gum disease, poor diets also lead to vitamin/mineral deficiencies that impact your body’s immunity and ability to heal. For instance, if you choose to cut an entire food group out of your diet, you may end up compromising your immune system and leaving your body more prone to attack.
A balanced, nutritious diet has been directly linked with better dental health as well as lower chances of periodontal disease, tooth decay, enamel or bone loss and eventually, tooth loss. If you want a bright and healthy smile in the years to come, it’s time to make some changes to the way you eat!
Simple Ways to Maintain Better Oral Health
Here are some of the simplest solutions to improving and maintaining your dental health for life:
- Make sure you’re eating right – Study your diet to understand where you can make improvements. If you’re in the habit of skipping meals or snacking between them, that’s a good place to start. When you eat proper meals, the saliva produced white chewing helps wash down food particles.
- Eat a nutritious, balanced diet – Include daily servings of foods from each of these 5 food groups:
⚬ Fresh fruits
⚬ Fresh vegetables
⚬ Whole grains
⚬ Dairy (low-fat or fat-free)
⚬ Protein from lean beef, poultry, and fish, or legumes like beans and peas
- Limit your snacking – If you feel the urge to snack between meals, eat fresh, crunchy fruits and veggies (like celery, apples, and carrots) or a piece of cheese. Crunchy foods help dislodge bits of food stuck in your mouth, while cheese can help fight bacterial growth.
- Avoid cavity-causing foods – Read the labels on products before buying, and skip products that are high in added sugar, fat or simple carbs. Replace candies, cookies and fizzy drinks with plain nuts, unsweetened yogurt, fresh fruit juices and other foods with a high nutrition value.
- Keep your mouth hydrated – Drinking plenty of water (fluoridated or plain tap water) is one of the simplest ways to combat a wide range of oral health issues, since it helps keep your mouth moist and washes away food particles or bacteria from it. Chewing sugar-free gum between meals can also help with saliva production.
- Maintain good oral hygiene – Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing daily and visiting the dentist every six months can also help keep your dental health on track. If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup, schedule an appointment at All About Smiles to evaluate your mouth’s health.
Better oral health leads to a wide range of positive impacts, both to your life and your general wellbeing. It’s commonly considered one of the primary indicators of good overall health, so take care of your teeth for your own sake!