Did you know that healthy teeth is linked to a balanced diet and eating healthy? As much as brushing consistently, flossing and rinsing is important, what you eat can have a significant impact on your oral health. By getting rid of unhealthy food from your diet and visiting the dentist regularly, you’re drastically increasing your chances of maintaining healthy teeth and decreasing your chances of acquiring gum disease.
What is the correlation between diet and healthy teeth nutrition?
Foods that contain sugars can lead to tooth decay. In fact, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is potentially more severe in people with poor nutrition. According to the Canadian Dental Association, a proper, balanced diet is good for your overall and dental health. Without proper nutrients, your teeth and gums become more susceptible to decay and gum disease and it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection. To control the amount of sugar you eat, read the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on foods and beverages, choose options that are lowest in sugar but your best bet is to buy natural ingredients (as opposed to processed or canned foods) to properly maintain your diet.
Foods/Snacks to avoid:
- Sugary snacks: sugar is one of the main causes of dental problems. The average Canadian eats the equivalent of 110 grams of sugar each day (approximately 21 percent of your daily energy intake).
- Processed Foods of foods that have been genetically modified.
- Foods that are high in sugar or sugar substitutes (typically ending in -ose like high fructose corn syrup).
- Sports drinks: sports drinks do not contain of sugars but contain a lot of acids. The acid in these drinks breaks down the tooth’s enamel, causing your teeth to become overly sensitive to temperature changes and touch.
- Refrain from drinks that stain your teeth.
- Tobacco: Cigarettes, cigars and chewing/smokeless tobacco are all harmful for you oral and overall health. In addition to containing nicotine, cigarettes also contain approximately 28 harmful chemicals.
Some great-tasting snacks that won’t harm your teeth:
- Foods that contain dairy: Milk, buttermilk, yogurt and cheese contain calcium, which help assist with tooth development and strengthen your teeth and gums.
- Fruit and raw vegetables: For vegetarians, vegans or those with dietary restrictions, (i.e. lactose intolerance) fruits and veggies contain a ton of vitamins which are very important for good oral health. Eating one cup of dark leafy greens (e.g. kale, bok choy, spinach, collards, etc.) daily provides nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily calcium allowance. Fruits and vegetables are also fibrous in nature, meaning they’re able to stimulate the salivary glands to release lots of saliva, which in turn protects your teeth.
- Sugar-free gum: Sugar-free chewing gum increased the salivary flow in your mouth. Saliva can washes away food, neutralizes acid in the mouth, and can repair damaged teeth. If you can’t brush after you eat, try chewing a piece of gum. Some gums, contain xylitol, which is a sugar-alcohol that can actually kill the bacteria that ruin your teeth.
Everything you eat affects your whole body, which is why it is so important to visit your dentist regularly, as they’re the only people who have the skills and expertise to properly address all your oral health care needs. Visit a location near you.
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A version of this post was first published on Altima Dental Blog