Good oral health starts with practicing proper oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing regularly. However, it goes beyond these basic steps to create a holistic system that includes your overall health and well-being. What you eat can affect whether or not you have healthy teeth and gums. Learning more about the connection between your diet and oral health can help you appreciate how important it is to eat the right foods.
The kinds of foods you include in your diet can have a large impact on your oral health. Eating too many of the wrong kinds of foods can lead to poor oral health and problems with your teeth and gums, such as tooth decay. Choosing the right foods for oral health provides you with nutrients that are needed for healthy gums and teeth.
Which foods should you avoid in your diet? You should stay away from foods and beverages that have high amounts of sugar, such as soda and candy. Starchy foods, such as potato chips, should also be avoided. Having these kinds of foods and beverages regularly can raise your risk of developing tooth decay or cavities. Starchy and sugary foods and beverages attract bacteria that cause plaque to form on your teeth. Instead of having starchy or sugar-dense foods and beverages, your diet should include the following foods that are good for your teeth and gums.
Your teeth need strong enamel to protect them from decay and damage. Enamel can erode over time, which can leave your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and other damage. Eating milk, cheese, and yogurt on a regular basis provides you with the calcium needed to build strong enamel. You’ll also get other nutrients for healthy teeth from these foods and beverages, including vitamin D and phosphates. Although these foods do have sugar, it’s present in low amounts. You can drink milk or snack on cheese or yogurt each day to give your teeth plenty of calcium for healthy enamel. You can also look for calcium-fortified foods and beverages to add to your diet for even more of this nutrient.
Fibrous fruits and vegetables, including celery and apples, can help keep your teeth clean. When you eat certain foods, citric and malic acids are left behind. These acids can damage your teeth and wear away tooth enamel. Fibrous fruits and vegetables promote salivation, which helps neutralize these acids and washes bits of food off your teeth. These fruits also make your breath fresher and help eliminate plaque buildup, lowering your risk of tooth decay. Chewing on these fruits and vegetables stimulates your gums as well, which helps reduce inflammation and decay.
Vitamin C helps your gums stay healthy and reduces the risk of inflammation, pain, and bleeding. When gum inflammation isn’t treated, it can become gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss, infections, and other problems. Strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, and kiwis are fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of vitamin C. You can easily make these part of your regular diet by eating them as snacks or adding them to healthy recipes.
Tooth decay and gum disease occur when harmful bacteria invade your teeth and gums. Eating foods that have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, such as garlic and onions, can help protect your teeth and gums from these dental problems. These foods help keep harmful bacteria at bay, reducing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Since you might end up with bad breath after eating these foods, consider chewing sugarless gum to freshen it up. Chewing on this kind of gum helps stimulate saliva production, which washes food particles off your teeth.
Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are an important part of creating a healthy oral microbiome that keeps your gums and teeth in good shape. These vegetables contain high amounts of minerals that help your teeth stay strong and healthy, including calcium and folic acid. When you chew on these vegetables, you’re also promoting saliva production.
Since oral health can have such a big impact on your overall health, your body will thank you for including these foods in your regular diet. In addition to eating well, having routine cleanings and checkups helps keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If you’re due for a dental exam and cleaning, please contact Cedar Walk Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for an appointment. Our dental team can make sure your teeth and gums are in good condition and provide you with more guidance on maintaining your oral health.