Is Nutrition Important to Your Dental Health

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 oral health. It’s not just the foods that you eat, but also when are you eating that can affect dental health. Limit the amount of snacks you eat. If you are snacking, choose healthier options, such as veggies, fruits, or cheese. 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.

Nutrition and Tooth Loss

Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent and concerning oral conditions. Tooth decay will happen 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 to drink 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 so you can drink water just from the kitchen sink, in order to help improve the health of your teeth.

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 can help balance sugar and can clean teeth. These items can also get the saliva flowing, which helps reduce the effect of acids that attack teeth. 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 health. Nuts are also low in Carbohydrates so they don’t add to the risk of cavities. Tooth decay is caused by acid producing bacteria and this bacteria is activated by carbs. 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 can erode the bone and the teeth can fall out. There are some foods that can aggravate the condition.

Acidic Foods: Acidic foods give 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 and it can exacerbate gum disease and lead to tooth decay. It’s not just candy and sweets that are a problem. 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 full of sugar but they can also erode gums and cause tooth decay because they are acidic. 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 make 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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