Oral Health and Nutrition

September 15, 2016

Oral Health and Nutrition

Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is vital to healthy living. But did you know that your food choices play an important role in preventing cavities and gum disease, too? What you put in your mouth not only impacts your general health, it also affects your teeth and gums. In fact, if you aren’t getting enough nutrients, the first signs often show up in your dental health.

The Problem With Poor Food Choices

Making poor food choices can have a negative impact on your oral health in more ways than one. When your body isn’t getting adequate nutrients from foods, the tissues in your mouth may have difficulty fighting infection. This can contribute to gum disease, causing the infection to be more severe and to progress faster than those with nutrient-dense diets.

Certain foods and drinks — candies, cookies, soda pops and potato chips — are a cause for dental concern. They offer no nutritional value and contain a high amount of sugar and starch. When these foods adhere to your teeth, the bacteria found in plaque — the sticky film that constantly forms on teeth — produces acids that attack your tooth enamel. After several acid attacks, the enamel weakens and breaks down, which could cause a cavity to form.

Similarly, when the plaque is not removed with daily brushing and flossing, it eventually will harden into tartar along the gum line causing gum disease. Gums can become infected, inflamed and often bleed. Gum disease in its advanced stages can cause loss of bone and tissue that holds teeth in place. Professional treatment is often needed to eliminate the infection and preserve your natural teeth.

Smart Food Choices for Your Teeth and Gums

The decision to eat healthier can drastically change your oral health. Here are a few ways you can promote good dental nutrition.

  • Make sure your diet includes a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, dairy products and water. This will give your teeth and gums the best chance of fighting off diseases while remaining strong and healthy.
  • Manage your sugar intake by limiting the amount of sugar-filled foods you eat. Chewy and sticky foods or candies, such as raisins and taffy, are especially harmful as they cling to tooth surfaces.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal to remove food particles and bacteria that promote decay.
  • If you eat sugary or starchy snacks, do so during a meal rather than between meals. The increased saliva released during mealtime will help rinse foods from your mouth while lessening the effects of acids.

In addition to adopting a nutrient-rich diet plan, you should also maintain good oral hygiene through daily brushing and flossing to remove harmful sugars and bacteria from your teeth. And don’t forget to visit your dentist. Routine dental cleanings and exams are vital to keeping your smile healthy and free of cavities and gum disease.

Schedule a Visit With Natural Horizons Wellness Centers

By following these tips, you can help your teeth stay healthy and strong while improving your overall health. To learn more about nutrition and dental health, contact Natural Horizons Wellness Centers today by calling 877-292-1571 or scheduling an appointment online.

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