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Food for Healthy Teeth: How Nutrition Impacts Your Dental Health

food and healthy 2019

They say you are what you eat, but did you know about the impact that nutrition has on your pearly whites, in particular? A lot of people don’t realize that food not only promotes the health of your skin, bones, and organs, but also the health of your teeth and gums.  

Nutrition: It’s More Important Than You Thought for Your Teeth

Eating a nutritious diet isn’t only good for your waistline; it’s also great for your dental health. If you aren’t getting the right amount of vital nutrients from your food daily, your risk of gum disease might increase, and that may eventually result in tooth loss. Yikes! On top of that, the wrong foods may also boost your risk of developing cavities—and no one likes getting fillings or, worse yet, a root canal!

Thankfully, establishing a diet that will support your dental health isn’t hard at all. It’s best to fill your plate with lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. If you consume dairy, stick with low-fat or fat-free options. This type of balanced diet can help you get the right amount of nutrients to support the strength of your chompers.

Interesting fact: Researchers have found that individuals who’ve lost teeth don’t consume enough veggies and fruits. So, if you want to take steps that can help reduce your odds of ever needing dentures, aim to consume a nutritious diet daily.

Why Sugar Is Such a Bad Guy

When it comes to dental health, making it a point to consume less sugar would be a smart move. From sugary fruit juice and soda, to candies and sweet desserts, you might not realize at first just how much sugar you’re exposing your teeth to.

What’s the big deal about sugar, anyway? Well, if bacteria in your mouth are exposed to sugar, acid will be produced. And that acid will end up attacking your teeth, damaging them and causing decay over time.

Plenty of nutrient-rich foods, such as whole fruits, contain natural sugars, so you can’t avoid all sugar all the time. Instead, experts recommend reading labels closely to avoid foods and beverages that contain added sugars.

Ready to Make Changes? A Step-by-Step Approach Will Get You There!

Here are a few tips to help you start eating in a way that will allow you to improve and maintain your oral health:

  • Did you know that snacking too often isn’t so good for your teeth? It’s true! Basically, the more often that you snack between meals, the greater the odds of acid wreaking havoc. This doesn’t mean you can’t snack at all, though. Just make wiser choices by opting to snack on foods like raw fruits and veggies. And, whenever possible, brush your teeth, or at least rinse with water, to help remove food particles.
  • Add foods that are rich in vitamin C to your daily diet. This nutrient can help support the health of your gums. A few tasty examples include tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, peppers, and citrus fruit.
  • Another nutrient that can help you maintain strong chompers is phosphorus. You can get it from a variety of foods, such as beans, nuts, eggs, dairy, lean meat, and fish.  
  • Calcium helps when it comes to maintaining strong bones and teeth, and you can get more of this important nutrient by eating foods like dark leafy green veggies, almonds, dairy products, soy milk, and tofu.
  • Drink water throughout the day. Also, reduce your intake of sugary drinks, as well as carbonated drinks and acidic beverages that may increase the risk of tooth erosion.

Pro tip: Some foods that would be considered part of a nutritious diet are acidic and can, therefore, be detrimental to dental enamel. These include citrus fruits and tomatoes, as a couple of examples. Rather than eating these on their own, it’s a good idea to enjoy these foods as part of a meal so that you can reduce the effects of the acid on your teeth. Simple enough, right?

Your Diet, Your Dentist, and Your At-Home Oral Hygiene Routine

Beyond eating the right food for healthy teeth, brushing and flossing daily is also a major component to maintaining that beautiful smile. And, of course, seeing your dentist regularly is necessary too. Regular trips to the dentist will give you the opportunity to have your mouth thoroughly examined and cleaned. Plus, your dentist can tell you if you’re doing a good job or if your diet still needs some tweaking.

No matter what diet you follow, there are so many delicious and nutritious foods and beverages that you can consume on a regular basis in order to get the optimal amount of nutrients that will help your teeth and gums remain strong and healthy. Your mouth, and your body, will thank you for the simple act of eating right!

Sources:

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/ada-04-food-choices-affect-your-oral-health

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/ada-05-connection-between-food-oral-health-strong

https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/healthy-nutrition-for-healthy-teeth

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diet-and-dental-health

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/ada-02-diet-dental-health

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips?utm_source=mouthhealthyorg&utm_medium=mhnutritionrotator&utm_content=food-tips

 

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