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Your body is a complex machine that operates many biological and physiological processes to keep you moving throughout the day. In order to keep this machine running smoothly, your body needs a consistent stream of proper nutrition provided by a well-balanced diet. If the food and drinks you consume do not provide your body the nutrients it needs to stay functioning, those processes can start to go haywire. At Advanced Dental Care of Indiana we know that, in terms of your dental health, poor nutrition can leave your mouth more susceptible to infection, leading to periodontal disease and even tooth loss.
Every food or drink you put into your body comes into contact with your teeth and gums; as your body processes the nutrients, food and drink continues to affect your oral health. Because diet and nutrition can influence the health of the tissues in your mouth, they can affect the development and progression of oral health concerns such as cavities, tooth erosion, and periodontal disease.
Sugary, processed food and drinks, as well as highly acidic ones, eat away at tooth enamel, the first step in developing cavities. Proper nutrition for both your overall health and your oral health involves focusing on a well-balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients your body needs to keep you healthy. We have compiled this helpful guide of do’s and don’ts for healthy eating and drinking so you can reduce your risk of oral diseases, keeping your smile looking healthier longer!
A consistently poor diet can lead to a variety of oral health issues, such as gum disease and tooth decay. Tooth decay and other oral health concerns begin when plaque (the sticky coating on your teeth) comes into contact with sugar in your mouth; this prompts acid to begin attacking your teeth and gums. The acid eats away at your tooth enamel – the hard covering protecting them – leading to holes that eventually become cavities. Without proper treatment, cavities can cause teeth to decay and even eventually fall out.
Any food or drink that contains sugar can contribute to tooth decay and almost all foods, even vegetables, contain sugar. While skipping sweets can help limit oral health concerns, some of these foods and their nutrients are part of a well-balanced diet. Rather than attempting to eliminate sugar from your diet, we suggest reading the ingredient labels and nutrition facts on anything you plan to consume and select the option that is lowest in sugar. Easily eliminated sources of sugar include soft drinks, cookies, pastries, and candies. Some sports drinks and even juices can be high in sugar, so be sure to check those labels!
Highly acidic foods and beverages can also lead to oral health issues. Tomatoes and citrus fruits are common highly acidic foods. Soft drinks also tend to be high in acid content. While soda is easy to eliminate, acidic fruits and vegetables contain many important nutrients. Rather than attempting to limit your intake of these foods, we suggest eating them with a meal instead of as a snack to limit the damage they may do to your enamel. During meals, saliva production rinses your teeth, washing away sugars and acids.
The best way to promote oral health is to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups. It is important to make sure your diet consists of a balance of fruits, vegetables, proteins, calcium-rich foods, and whole grains. Calcium-rich foods or drinks such as milk, cheese, salmon, and almonds help promote strong teeth. Eggs, fish, and beans are high in phosphorus, which can help remineralize the holes that may appear in your enamel. Vitamin C is a key nutrient for the health of your gums, so be sure to incorporate broccoli, spinach, and potatoes in your diet. For those suffering from lactose intolerance, broccoli and spinach are also high in calcium. Fruits and vegetables also have a high water content, helping to dilute any sugars in your mouth that may damage your teeth.
To promote good oral health, it is important to also limit the number of snacks you eat. Your teeth and gums need a break in between snacks and meals in order to process what you’ve put in it. The American Dental Association suggests spacing meals and snacks apart by at least two hours. When you do snack, be sure to choose something nutritious such as plain yogurt, cheese, or raw vegetables. When selecting beverages, the same rules apply as they do for foods: avoid drinks high in sugars or acids. Water is always your best bet, but other healthy drink choices include milk and unsweetened tea.
Contact Advanced Dental Care of Indiana Today!
Now that you know a bit more about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet in order to promote better oral health, it’s time to take the next step! Another great way to maintain good oral hygiene and take better care of your teeth is to book regular appointments with your local dentist. Advanced Dental Care of Indiana is here for you. Request an appointment today and get started down the path to better oral health!