You Are What You Eat: Your Diet and Healthy Teeth
It’s common knowledge these days that sugary snacks and fast food are bad for our physical health, but a lot of people don’t know that our diet also directly affects our oral health. Sure, most people know that sugar is one of the major causes of cavities. But our teeth and gums are also one of the first places that some diseases manifest themselves.
What Not To Eat
Foods that are soft, sticky, and sweet contain acids that cause tooth decay and cavities. Soda and other beverages such as iced tea, hot chocolate, sports drinks, milk shakes, icees and even frozen coffee drinks are full of sugar and flavor additives that wear down tooth enamel. The most common contributors to bad oral health are fermentable carbohydrates like those found in cookies and crackers. The effects of these carbs can be lessened by pairing them with cheese or nuts. Additionally, diets that do not contain all of the food groups also put a person at risk for nutrient deficiencies that can lead to gum disease.
Foods For Good Oral Hygiene
Foods high in calcium and vitamin D are good for overall bone health; the jaw bone is the root of all teeth, so the health of this bone is the key to healthy teeth. A deficiency of calcium puts people at much higher risk of periodontal disease and subsequent tooth loss. Vitamin D, in turn, allows calcium to be absorbed by the body. Examples of foods that contain both calcium and vitamin D are low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk. Fatty fish like salmon and Atlantic mackerel are one of the few good food sources of vitamin D. Vitamin C is also critical to gum health by strengthening blood vessels and connective tissue, including the connective tissue that holds your teeth in your jaw. Vitamin C also helps reduce inflammation, which may prevent or slow the progression of gingivitis. Foods high in vitamin C include various fruits and vegetables like oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, mango, cabbage, and rutabagas.
The Importance Of Water
Drinking plenty of water helps fight off tooth decay by keeping saliva levels high. Saliva is critical to good oral hygiene because the minerals and proteins it contains counteract the effects of enamel-wearing substances. Studies have shown that green tea is another great option for staying hydrated and infusing antioxidants. These antioxidants fight gum-attacking bacteria in the mouth.
Oral health starts with good preventative care measures. By switching to a healthier diet, you will improve both physical and oral health. For additional questions regarding the importance of a good diet, contact Alabama Family Dentistry, with four offices in the Birmingham area – located in Warrior, Acton Road, Gardendale and Sumitron. Their dental services stress the importance of regular cleaning. At Alabama Family Dentistry the combination of mouth friendly foods and regular preventative care is the first step to a healthier smile and body.