Everyone knows that good nutrition is essential for general health, but do you know that your food choices and eating patterns also play a role in promoting good oral hygiene and developing healthy teeth?
Let us educate you on the impact of certain foods in your diet that will negatively and positively affect oral health.
Impact of Diet on Tooth Decay
The bacteria living inside your mouth rely on carbohydrates for food, so when you reduce your intake of sugar and other simple carbohydrates that ferment easily, you reduce the risk for cavities. Besides avoiding taking sugary foods and drinks, you should read food labels to determine how much sugar has been used, to contain your sugar intake.
You can identify different sources of sugar from their name, especially those ending in “-ose”. Common added sugars include glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar, corn sweeteners, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, dextrin, etc.
Foods That May Negatively Affect Oral Health
Hard or sticky candies like mints, caramel, and taffy; sweets like cakes, cookies, and muffins; and snacks like chips are a major cause of dental concern, because they offer zero nutritional value, and the type and amount of sugar they contain can easily adhere to teeth, feeding the bacteria in your mouth and releasing acids that cause tooth decay.
Sugary drinks, like juice, soda, and sweetened tea or coffee are particularly harmful, because every time you drink you provide a sugary bath over all corners of your teeth.
Acidic foods, like citrus fruits and tomatoes can also corrode tooth enamel, so they should be consumed as part of a larger meal – not by themselves.
Foods That May Positively Affect Oral Health
Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding sugary foods and drinks is a good way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. According to the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion – an agency of the US Department of Agriculture, your nutrition and calorie requirements depends on your gender, age, level of physical activity, and other health factors. That said, a balanced and healthy diet should contain:
- Protein – lean protein sources like fish, lean beef, and skinless poultry, as well as other sources like eggs, peas, beans, and legumes. It is recommended that you consume at least 8 ounces of seafood every week.
- Dairy – fat-free or low-fat dairy foods are preferred
- Grains – at least 50 percent of grains consumed should be while grains, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal
- Fruits and vegetables – should cover half your plate in every meal as they are good sources of vitamins. Vitamin A helps with tooth enamel production, vitamins A and C help to prevent bleeding gums, overgrown gums, and gum disease, while vitamin B helps to heal sores and lesions in your mouth and prevent cracked lips.
In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, you should get at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.