Nutrition and Oral Health
Just like a healthy body, a healthy smile also relies on good nutrition. A healthy, balanced diet with lots of vitamins and nutrients is a key part of having a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth supports your overall health. What you choose to eat is very important when it comes to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. We want you to know how nutrition affects your teeth, and how to give them the best health possible.
We all want a long, healthy life, and if your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth will have a hard time fighting infections and building a strong, healthy mouth. Nutrition and oral health are closely related. When you have a deficiency or imbalance in your consumption of nutrients, you may have an issue with malnutrition.
Dental pain or missing teeth can lead to difficulty chewing or swallowing food, which will affect what and how you eat. This may mean eating fewer meals or meals with a lower nutritional value. This lack of proper nutrients and minerals can also affect your dental development, how fast you develop different diseases that affect your mouth, and poor healing.
Did you know the minerals in the food you eat and what you drink also help your dental health?
Minerals like calcium and phosphorus help to protect your teeth and rebuild your tooth enamel, or the hard outer protective layer of the tooth. It’s the hardest substance in your whole body! Foods high in calcium include cheese, milk, plain yogurt, leafy greens, and almonds. Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk, and eggs are great sources of phosphorus to help you with strong enamel!
Fruits and Veggies are a great choice!
Fruits and vegetables are also good choices for a healthy smile, and your dentist wants you to eat a lot of them! High in water and fiber, they help to balance the sugars they hold and also help to clean your teeth. Fruits and vegetables also help stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth, which helps to wash away acids and food from the teeth. This saliva both neutralizes acid and protects your teeth from decay. Many fruits and vegetables also have vitamins that are important for your teeth. Vitamin C, most commonly found in citrus fruits, is essential for healthy gums and healing. Vitamin A is another great vitamin found in fruits and vegetables and is also key in building healthy, strong tooth enamel.
Water is the best option
When it comes to drinking, you can’t get any better than water for your teeth! Especially if the water is fluoridated. Drinking water with fluoride is one of the most straightforward and helpful things you can do to prevent cavities. Fluoride, a mineral added to water helps fight against tooth decay. Water helps keep your mouth clean by flushing out food particles and other debris and also enables you to fight a dry mouth.
What about sparkling water?
While plain water is the best choice for your teeth, the popular option sparkling water is also a good choice in moderation. Although it’s slightly more acidic than plain water, it’s a great replacement for soda and other sugary drinks. Remember, not all carbonated waters are created equal, and you need to be mindful of the citric acid or added sugars in the sparkling water.
It’s All About Snacking!
Did you know that how often you eat can also affect your teeth? When you eat or drink, the sugar from the foods you consume makes something called plaque. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. This plaque makes an acid that attacks tooth enamel. This attack can last up to 20 minutes, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking.
Now, don’t worry, plaque is easily removed when you brush your teeth twice daily! But, snacking or sipping on a sugary drink for a long period of time can increase your chances of tooth decay. If you snack on a lot of sugary things, it not only leads to tooth decay, but also other health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Skip the snacks loaded with added sugar, and instead help your mouth by reaching for cheese, raw veggies, plain yogurt, or some fruit! These foods that are rich in antioxidants will also play a part in protecting your gums from infection.
Oral Health is Whole Body Health
While you may think that oral diseases only affect the mouth, they really affect your whole body! There is a proven relationship between oral health and general health. Many health conditions may increase your risk of oral diseases, and poor oral health can affect other health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Good oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist, and a healthy lifestyle and eating habits will help keep your smile and your body healthy. If you’re looking for more lifestyle tips and a great dentist in your area, schedule an appointment with us today!