Ever wonder how nutrition affects oral health? During National Nutrition Month, let’s take a moment to understand the effects of food on your teeth.
Proper nutrition means following a well-balanced diet that ensures that your body gets all the nutrients that it needs for good overall health. If you’re not eating right, then your body doesn’t get all the nutrient that it needs to function properly. Among many other things, poor nutrition can lower your body’s immune system, making it harder for your mouth to fight off infection and making you more prone to oral health problems.
How Nutrition Affects Oral Health
A poor diet affects your whole body in general. It can make you feel weak, sluggish, and more importantly, more prone to various diseases. Your mouth, in particular, is very sensitive to your food choices, and lack of nutrition can lead to an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay.It’s important to remember that a poor diet doesn’t just mean not eating enough at all. The truth is, eating a lot of the wrong thing can be just as dangerous not eating enough. In some cases, it may even be more harmful. Case in point, a diet consisting of food high in carbohydrates, sugars and starches can increase the production of plaque. Although it’s true that plaque naturally forms on teeth, an unhealthy diet can make it so that the plaque acids wear down the tooth enamel much faster than normal. Even with regular brushing and flossing, it is still possible for these acids to eventually form a cavity.And that’s just one example. Put simply, an unhealthy diet can cause a variety of dental problems, even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly.
What To Eat
Any food that contains sugar contributes to tooth decay. Because almost all food contains some type of sugar, you may wonder, what exactly is safe to eat then? Well, technically, not all food that contain sugar is bad for you. For example, milk and cheese are notorious for their high sugar content. But, they’re also essential for a healthy diet as they also contain a lot of important nutrients.
Like milk and cheese, the types of food listed below can help improve your diet and help you enjoy healthier teeth:
- Tea – Polyphenols, usually found in black and green tea, have been shown to slow down the growth of bacteria associated with gum disease and cavities.
- Yogurt – Like milk and cheese, yogurt is extremely rich in calcium and protein. It’s also full of probiotics, or the good type of bacteria, which can help keep out the type of bacteria responsible for cavities.
- Leafy Greens – Kale, spinach and other leafy greens typically find themselves in any healthy food list and for good reason, they’re really really really good for you. Low in calories, but high in vitamins and minerals, adding leafy greens to your regular meals is a good idea if you want to enjoy a healthier mouth and better health overall.
- Fruits – Apples might be sweet, but their high fiber and water content more than makes up for that. Also, because of its texture, just eating the fruit helps “scrape away” bacteria and food particles from your teeth, while also stimulating the gums.
Help give your teeth a better chance against bacteria and infection this national nutrition month by making necessary changes to your diet starting today! And don’t forget to schedule your 6 month check up and cleanings with Dr. Graham Farless at 336-282-2868. Visit the website at www.gsodentist.com.