Just like a healthy body, healthy teeth depend on good nutrition. Thoughtful and considered food choices, along with healthy eating habits are one of the most important ways you can prevent tooth decay and gingival or periodontal diseases. A balanced diet with adequate nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is essential for a healthy mouth. And a healthy mouth supports your body’s overall health and well-being.
A poor diet can actually be a huge contributing factor to tooth decay. Sugars and starches feed the plaque bacteria that accumulates on your teeth and around your gums and eventually, they eat away at your tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
Good nutrition and oral health are closely linked. The foods and drinks you consume can have a significant impact on the health of your teeth and gums. A healthy diet can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. And it can also promote your body’s good overall health and wellness.
Here at Kingston Dental, we encourage our dental patients to choose foods and drinks that are good for your teeth. By following these few tips to start with, you will find that not only does your dental health improve, but your overall health and well-being will improve significantly too.
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps to keep your mouth moist and can help wash away food particles and bacteria. Water is the best drink for your teeth. If your city water is infused with fluoridation, as many city water plants are, you’ll have an extra layer of protection against tooth decay. Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities. Of course, using a fluoride infused toothpaste is also a great cavity deterrent.
- Limit sugary foods, sweets, candy, and sugary drinks. Sugars are converted to acids by the bacteria in your mouth. These acids can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
- Eat foods that are high in calcium and other nutrients, such as cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, and almonds. These can also contribute to the health of your teeth. In addition, eating protein-rich foods, like meat, poultry, fish, milk, and eggs can be great sources of phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus contribute to positive dental health by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are good sources of water, necessary vitamins, and minerals. They are low in sugar and can help to reduce the risk of cavities. They are also high in fiber, a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body. When you chew high fiber foods, they help to clean your teeth and remove plaque. They also help to stimulate saliva production, which can neutralize acids and wash away food particles.
What are the best types of fruits and vegetables that are good for your teeth and your overall nutrition?
- Apples. Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C. Because apples are crunchy, they can help to clean teeth and stimulate saliva production.
- Celery. Celery is high in fiber and water and because it’s also crunchy, it can help to clean teeth and stimulate saliva production as well.
- Carrots. High in beta-carotene, your body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is an important vitamin in the process of maintaining tooth enamel.
- Oranges. Oranges are another good source of vitamin C. They are also juicy, which helps to wash away food particles and bacteria.
- Leafy green vegetables. Vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, and other leafy vegetables are a good source of vitamins C, K, and folate. These vitamins are important for the health of your gums.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains are more nutritious and can help to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Here are some examples of whole-grain foods:
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Bulgur (cracked wheat)
- Rye bread
- Whole-wheat bread
- Whole-grain bagels
- Whole-grain tortillas
- Pumpernickel bread
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Whole-grain brown rice pasta
- Quinoa pasta
- Black bean pasta
Other Whole-Grain Foods:
- Whole-wheat crackers
- Whole-grain granola bars
- Whole-grain breakfast cereals
- Whole-grain couscous
- Whole-wheat barley
When choosing packaged whole-grain foods, be sure to read the label to check for the word "whole" in the ingredients list. Avoid foods that are made with refined grains, such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta. Refined grains have been stripped of their bran and germ, which are the most important parts of the grain and are the most nutritious.
- Avoid smoking, chewing tobacco, and excessive alcohol consumption. Smoking and alcohol can dry out your mouth and increase your risk of gum disease and other oral health problems. Smoking can cause mouth, tongue, throat, and lip cancer. And, of course, it is the number on cause of lung cancer.
A nutritious, healthy diet can not only improve your dental health, keeping you free from cavities, gum disease, and other serious illnesses, but it can also improve your overall health and quality of life.
In addition to eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, avoiding sugary foods, sweets, and sugary drinks, you need to be sure to take care of your teeth in other proactive ways as well. Here’s a short checklist to follow:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Use a mouthwash to help freshen your breath and kill bacteria.
- Floss once a day. This helps to remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth where your toothbrush can't always reach. It can also improve your gum health.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings so that he or she can identify and treat dental problems early before they become more serious issues.
Oral health care is essential for your overall health and well-being. It involves brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis.
Oral health problems, such as cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer, can be linked to a number of systemic diseases that can be quite serious in the long run. But by maintaining good oral health, by paying attention to what you eat and drink, you can reduce your risk of gingivitis, periodontal diseases, gum disease, and other more serious illnesses that could in fact, become life threatening.
At Kingston Dental Care, we want to make sure your teeth stay healthy, function properly, and that your smile looks great no matter how young or how old you may be. Our dentists appreciate the fact that good nutritional health is a primary factor in good dental health.
This means that they will urge you and your family to embrace good nutritional habits, as well as promoting good dental health practices. Our highly professional and efficient Kingston Dental team are here to provide you and all of our local community with quality, comprehensive dental care. Our team never loses sight of our #1 goal: Patients always come first.