DIET & ORAL HEALTH
You know eating healthy foods is good for weight loss and your overall health, but did you know it is also important for your oral health? The foods we eat can have an effect on the health of our mouths and teeth.
There is a direct relationship between our diet and our oral health, and the explanation can be summed up fairly easily: eating the same healthy foods that are good for our physical body are also good for our oral health.
A poor diet can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eventually, these acids can cause tooth enamel to break down, forming a cavity.
If you do eat foods high in sugar or starch, try to eat them during meals, rather than between meals, and avoid any foods that stick to your teeth, because these can produce more plaque. Saliva production rises during meals, which can help rinse food and acids from the mouth.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. Almost all foods, including milk and vegetables, contain some type of sugar; however; these foods are a necessary part of a healthy diet, because many of them also contain important nutrients. To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Added sugars are often present in soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries.
For a healthy smile, you must practice good oral hygiene every day. Brushing after meals, using antimicrobial mouthwash, and flossing at least once per day helps to keep these disease-causing bacteria from reproducing in your mouth, and causing tooth decay. And, healthy diets that minimize sugary and starchy foods also helps to keep those bad bacterial under control.
Visit Nairobi Premier Dental Clinic at least twice a year for early detection & treatment of teeth problems. This greatly reduces the pain & cost of dental appointments in the future.
One the most common oral health problems caused by diet are cavities in teeth. According to Nairobi Premier Dental Clinic, “cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are caused by a combination of factors including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well.”
Sugars and carbohydrates from foods combine with bacteria and convert to acid in your mouth. This acid eats away at your tooth enamel, the hard covering on your teeth, causing holes or cavities in your teeth.
These cavities not only cause problems such as bad breath, but also serious oral health issues including tooth decay.
Eating foods high in calcium and phosphorus helps to re-mineralize or fill in any holes that may occur in your tooth enamel.
- Foods for Oral Health
Foods that include calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and healthy gums include milk, cheese, nuts, and meat.
Green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are also high in calcium for individuals that cannot ingest milk products, also known as lactose intolerance.
Other foods beneficial to your oral health include firm and crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, and carrots. Eating these types of foods creates more saliva, which helps wash away food particles out of the crevices in your teeth, gums, and tongue.
Fruits and vegetables are also high in water content. The water content helps dilute any sugars, that, when combined with the bacteria in your mouth, can turn into acid that can damage your teeth.
- Acidic and Sugary Foods
Foods that are highly acidic can cause cavities and other oral health issues such as canker sores. Highly acidic foods include tomatoes, and citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons.
Common foods high in carbohydrates include breads, bagels, potato chips, and even French fries. Foods high in sugar include cookies, cakes, pies, and candy.
Raisins and other dried fruit, although somewhat of a health food, can also contain high amounts of sugar. Dried fruits tend to be sticky and can adhere to your teeth. You should be mindful of the issues they can cause in your mouth when eating these types of foods.
The same rules apply for drinks as they do for foods when it comes to oral health. Drinks that are low in sugar, carbohydrates, and are non-acidic are the best types.
Water with fluoride is the optimum in drinks for oral health. The water flushes food particles from between teeth and out of crevices. It also hydrates your mouth, creating plenty of saliva to neutralize acids and bacteria. The fluoride helps to rebuild any soft spots in your tooth enamel.
Other good drink choices include milk, which is high in calcium to strengthen teeth, and unsweetened teas.
Sodas are another drink that are highly acidic and may be loaded with sugars. Other drinks to be careful of include coffee and teas with added sugar, hot chocolate, and flavored drink mixes.