Is Nutrition Important to Your Dental Health?
Nutrition plays a vital role in your oral health
Learn what foods are best for dental health and what foods to avoid with periodontal disease.
Flossing and daily brushing are important for maintaining a healthy smile, but nutrition also plays a role in your dental health. Eating a balanced diet not only provides nutrients for your overall well-being, but also for your dental health.
How Does Nutrition Affect Your Teeth?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says there is a strong connection between the food that people eat and their oral health. And, it’s not just the food that you eat, but when are you eating that can affect dental health. For example, foods that are eaten as part of a meal can cause less harm to teeth than snacks throughout the day because more saliva is released during the meal. To keep your teeth as healthy as they can be, limit the amount of snacks you eat and choose choose healthier options, such as veggies, fruits, or cheese.
Nutrition and Tooth Loss
Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent and concerning oral conditions. Tooth decay happens when plaque comes in contact with sugar in the mouth, which causes the acid to attack the teeth. If you are lacking certain nutrients in your diet, it can be more difficult for the tissues in the mouth to resist infection. This can lead to tooth loss as well as periodontal disease.
Best Foods for Dental Health
Water: Water, especially if it has fluoride in it, is the best beverage for your dental health. Fluoride can help make teeth more resistant to acid attacks that can lead to cavities. Many U.S. cities have fluoridated water, you can improve the health of your teeth by simply drinking water from the kitchen sink.
Dairy: If your body can tolerate dairy, then milk and other dairy products, such as yogurt and cheeses, are good choices. These are low in sugar, which is good for dental health. These items also contain calcium, which helps strengthen teeth.
Lean Proteins: Foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk can help strengthen teeth because of their protein content. Be sure to vary your protein choices to get the most nutrients.
Fruits and Vegetables with Fiber: Fruits and veggies are important to every balanced diet and are especially important for dental health. Veggies and fruits high in water and fiber help balance sugar and clean your teeth. These items can also get the saliva flowing, which helps reduce the negative effects of acids. Some of the best fruits and veggies to eat include apples, carrots, celery, and leafy greens.
Nuts: Nuts contain minerals and proteins that are important for general health, and their makeup has specific oral health benefits as well. The bacteria that causes tooth decay is activated by carbohydrates, so low-carb options like nuts can help your smile look its best. Nuts also help with saliva production.
Foods to Avoid with Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an infection of the structure around the teeth. It will usually start out as gingivitis (an infection of the gums), but escalates quickly if there isn’t proper treatment. The infection cause bone erosion, which can lead to teeth falling out. There are some foods that can aggravate the condition:
Acidic Foods: Acidic foods create the perfect environment for bacteria. Foods such as tea, black coffee, citrus foods, and picked vegetables can enhance inflammation, aggravate the condition, and slow down treatment.
Sweets: Sweets should be avoided, even if you don’t have periodontal disease. Sugar is a known enemy of teeth and gums since it can exacerbate gum disease and lead to tooth decay. But avoiding sugar takes more than eliminating just candy and sweets from your diet. Fruit, white bread, peanut butter, pasta sauce, and yogurt can contain high amounts of sugar. Be sure to check the labels before you eat so you know how much sugar you are actually consuming.
Sports Drinks: Sports drinks are not only full of sugar, but their acidity can also erode gums and cause tooth decay. Find the brands with the lowest amount of sugar or switch to water.
Ice: While water is good for dental health, ice and cold foods can cause a lot of pain. The condition will affect the nerves of your gums and teeth, which makes them more sensitive.
Nutrition, along with flossing and brushing your teeth, can improve dental health. Seeking regular oral health care is also important to slow down the progression of any tooth decay.
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