How Changing Your Diet Can Improve Your Oral Health
Eating a well-balanced diet is essential for good health and wellness, and that includes the health of your mouth. Our teeth and gums are directly impacted by our daily food choices, and many common dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented with the right nutritional habits. Here are a few tips for making smart food choices for your oral health.
Your Diet’s Impact on Your Oral Health
Tooth decay results from plaque buildup — a sticky film of bacteria and food that forms on the teeth. Certain foods contribute to plaque production more than others, especially those that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. As sugar from foods break down in the mouth, bacteria can create harmful acids that attack the teeth. Eventually these acids can eat away at teeth enamel, forming a cavity. Additionally, poor nutrition can lead to a weakened immune system, which can make you more susceptible to other health problems and your ability to fight them, including gum disease.
Easy Ways to Modify Your Diet for a Healthier Smile
Variety and moderation are the keys to a healthy diet. Here are a few simple changes you can make to your diet to improve your oral health.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods from the five major food groups: fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, dairy and lean proteins.
- Avoid eating too many sugary foods and beverages including pastries, candies, fruit juices and soda, which fuel the bacteria that produce acid, causing tooth erosion and cavities.
- Limit your intake of high-carb foods like bread, pasta and chips that promote acid-causing bacteria.
- Avoid chewy and sticky foods or candies like taffy, raisins and caramel that cling to the surface of teeth and promote decay.
- Resist the urge to snack frequently, especially between meals as this encourages acid to attack the teeth repeatedly. If you do snack, choose wisely and remember to brush after snacking to keep cavities at bay.
While you should limit the amount of sugary and starchy foods you eat, there are some foods that promote good dental health. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples increase the flow of cleansing saliva and can even dislodge harmful debris or bacteria from between teeth.
- Dairy foods like cheese, yogurt or milk are high in calcium and help neutralize acid in the mouth that cause decay.
- Nuts like cashews and almonds are great sources of protein while being low in sugar. Studies show that cashews also contain anti-bacterial properties that protect teeth against tooth decay.
- Drinking water throughout the day helps rid your mouth of food particles that would otherwise stay on your teeth and gums. Always rinse with water after a snack or meal if you don’t have a toothbrush available.
Contact Natomas Crossing Dental Care
By following these tips and making smarter food choices every day, you can help keep your teeth healthy and strong while maintaining a healthier lifestyle overall. In addition to following a well-balanced diet, you can prevent oral health problems by practicing good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing, and visiting our office for routine cleanings and exams.
To schedule a visit with our dentists, call 916-999-1308 and learn more.