The Link between Your Diet and Dental Health

Your Oral Health Mirrors Your Overall Health and Wellness

We all know that our diet has a direct impact on our well-being but did you know that your dietary pattern and sugar intake also determine your dental health? When you consume high-fat foods frequently and fail to watch your sugar intake, the effects can be far more than obesity alone.  Among other things, unhealthy eating habits can weaken your immune system over time and a weak immune system cannot fight off the diseases that are triggered by the harmful bacteria that reside in your mouth. This can gradually lead to the build-up of plaque, cavities and also invite periodontal disease. Fortunately, all of these dental problems can be prevented if you keep up with your dental appointments.

How Sugary Foods Damage Your Teeth

Sodas, Gatorade, Chamoy and other citric foods that have a low pH contain acids that attack the teeth enamel and contribute to decay. When the bacteria in your mouth is exposed to sugar containing foods, acids are produced which attack your teeth. Controlling the amount of sugar in your diet and choosing options with low-sugar content will help you keep cavities at bay. Oral infections spread faster in people with poor nutrition so a diet that is deficient in minerals and vitamins not only affects your health but also increases the risk of gum disease. And severe gum disease when left untreated leads to loss of teeth.

Unhealthy eating habits leave your mouth susceptible to oral infections as the tissues in your mouth cannot resist the harmful bacteria. When you consume sticky or soft foods that also contain sugar, they will cling to your teeth  and cause cavities because they allow acids to build up on the surface of your teeth and wear down the enamel. Consumption of fast food, bottled ice tea, crackers and chips are especially harmful for your gums and teeth as they are filled with hidden sugars. Maintaining a balanced diet and limiting the intake of junk food is good for both oral and overall health. Choosing a diet that is rich in fibers, nutrients and vitamins will keep your smile healthy and your body strong.

Easy Ways to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

Eating right is the best way to keep your mouth healthy but here are a few easy-to-follow tips to maintain your oral health:

  • Drinking a lot of water will keep your mouth moist and neutralize the acid produced by the bacteria that are naturally present in your mouth.
  • Consuming dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk can reduce the risk of gingivitis
  • Crunchy fruits and fiber-rich veggies help in preventing the bacteria settling on your teeth.
  • Lean red meat is a rich source of iron and helps those who are deficient in minerals
  • Chewing gum with xylitol after a meal produces saliva which protects the enamel from acid attacks. Current research shows that 6g of xylitol a day keeps cavity causing bacteria away.
  • Finally, brushing your teeth twice a day, and yes flossing regularly (despite what the Associated Press states!) and visiting your dentist every six months will ensure that you avoid costly dental procedures and enjoy good dental health even as you age.
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