Your mouth is a complex organism. Everything that comes in contact with your teeth and gums can affect your oral health. Your food and beverage choices, and the frequency at which you eat them, are important to preserving your overall health.
A diet high in processed foods will have a negative affect on your oral health due to the high sugar content. These sugary, sticky, and acidic foods should be avoided to help prevent cavities which lead to more severe dental issues like tooth decay. If you do indulge in sticky or sweet treats, avoid keeping them in your mouth too long, as this will increase the sugar build-up on your teeth and lead to quicker bacteria and plaque production.
The average Canadian eats 40kg of sugar each year. It’s no wonder that sugar is one of the leading causes of dental problems. In fact, the most common chronic childhood disease is tooth decay. This is often a result of too much sugar in the diet. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria and plaque are formed from residual sugar in the mouth. This produces acid that attacks your teeth. The acidity eats away at your tooth’s enamel, causing it to rot away. Foods like candy, cookies, pastries, and soda are the top offenders. Limiting a child’s sugar intake and remembering to brush after each sweet treat will help prevent cavities from forming.
In adults, gum disease is a more common dental problem. If not properly treated, it can lead to tooth loss. The leading cause of gum disease comes from a lack of proper nutrition. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for the tissue in your mouth to resist infection. That’s why eating a balanced diet is crucial to your overall oral health.
A diet that contains calcium-rich foods is beneficial to your oral health. Calcium helps make your teeth stronger. Snacks like cheese, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods help your body gain the nutrients necessary to keep you healthy. Raw vegetables and fruits that have naturally occurring sugars are a great snack. Sugars that are naturally found in fruits and veggies are healthy. Your body needs a certain amount of sugar to keep your body’s pH levels regulated.
Keeping your mouth healthy is not difficult. It can easily be incorporated into your daily life by making smart choices, beginning with what comes in contact with your teeth and gums. Here are a few guidelines that promote strong teeth and will keep your smile looking healthy:
Moving away from processed sugars and understanding how the foods and beverages we consume affect our health will help promote good oral health, keep our teeth healthy, and help us avoid serious dental issues.
A version of this post was first published on Altima Dental Blog