Brushing and flossing your teeth daily is essential to a healthy smile, but did you know what you eat can affect your oral health? Your food and drink choices play an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Eating nutrient-rich foods promotes healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet that includes protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy provides essential nutrients for optimum oral health as well as overall health.
Nutrient-rich Foods for Optimum Oral Health
- Calcium-rich foods, such as cheese, low-fat milk, plain yogurt, and soy milk help promote strong teeth and bones. Other sources of calcium include tofu, canned salmon, almonds, and leafy green vegetables.
- Proteins like lean meat, poultry, fish, milk, and eggs provide phosphorus, which protects and rebuilds tooth enamel.
- Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water, which balance the sugars they contain and help clean the teeth. Many contain vitamins A and C, which are important nutrients for dental health. Vitamin C promotes gum health, so eat plenty of sources, including peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach. Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits should be eaten as part of a meal, not by themselves. This lessens the acidic effects on tooth enamel.
According to the National Library of Medicine, severe vitamin deficiencies result in systemic complications, including the development of scurvy, rickets, pellagra, and beriberi. A lower intake of vitamin A has been associated with decreased oral epithelial development, impaired tooth formation, enamel hypoplasia, and periodontitis. Vitamin D deficiency during tooth development may result in non-syndromic amelogenesis and dentinogenesis imperfecta, enamel and dentin hypoplasia, and dysplasia. Clinical studies have demonstrated an association between vitamin D’s endocrine effects and periodontitis. Vitamin C deficiency results in changes in the gingivae and bone, as well as xerostomia; while vitamin B deficiencies are associated with recurrent aphthous stomatitis, enamel hypomineralization, cheilosis, cheilitis, halitosis, gingivitis, glossitis, atrophy of the lingual papillae, stomatitis, rashes around the nose, dysphagia, and pallor.
Snacking Between Meals
Smart snacking can also help your oral health. It’s best to limit eating and drinking between meals — the more often you eat, the more likely you are to introduce acid attacks on your teeth. If you do snack, it’s best to make nutritious choices, such as raw vegetables, cheese, yogurt, fruit, veggies, or nuts. Resist empty calorie foods and sugary treats such as candy, cakes, and chips. They offer no nutritional value, and the sugar they contain can adhere to teeth. Bacteria in the mouth feed off these sugars, releasing acid that leads to tooth decay. These bacteria use carbohydrates for food, so when you cut back on sugar, you reduce your cavity risk. Sugary drinks are also very harmful to teeth.
In addition to good nutrition, oral health problems can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, floss daily, stay hydrated by drinking water and schedule regular dental visits.
Downers Grove Dentist
If you are looking for a Downers Grove dentist, contact Webster Dental today at 630.663.0554. We are located at 1121 Warren Avenue, Suite 130, in Downers Grove, Illinois. Webster Dental specializes in general dentistry, family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, periodontal disease, and other dental treatments.