Oral Health Diets
How Does Diet Affect My Teeth?
Nutrition and dental health are more intertwined than you would expect. Yes, we’re taught early on that too much sugar can give you cavities and biting into hard foods can chip your teeth, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Your dental and oral health depends on your diet. Factor that in along with teeth genetics and that is the entire makeup of your teeth.
Because you can’t control or alter what’s passed on through genetics, your entire focus should be on what you can do–eating a nutritious diet and practicing good oral hygiene.
What Foods Are Bad for Your Teeth?
Your body needs fuel for it to function properly, and this source of fuel is powered through the food you eat. Every single item you choose to consume will affect your general health. If you eat something small, it may not play as big of a role as something you consume frequently, but your body does react to everything you feed it.
Now, how does that affect your teeth? When you consume a food or beverage, your mouth is the first point of contact. As mentioned before, an excess of sugary foods are known to cause tooth decay. That’s because the combination of sugar and plaque creates an acid that attacks your teeth.
Some foods that are bad for your teeth include:
- Citrus fruits: Acidic foods or drinks can gradually dissolve tooth enamel. This dental erosion happens quickest when you consume acidic foods with lower pH levels. In addition to citrus foods, pickles and other foods containing vinegar can be harmful over time.
- Starchy foods: Starchy foods tend to get trapped in small crevices of your mouth. Over time, these simple carbohydrates break down into simple sugars. Tooth decay will eventually occur due to the bacteria feeding on the sugars created from these food particles and producing acid.
- Candies and sweets: Moderation is key here. When sweets become the majority of what you eat, the enamel of your teeth becomes defenseless to harmful bacteria. If you’re trying to decide what sweets to eat, some recommend choosing foods that don’t stay in your mouth for long periods, like opting for chocolate over a lollipop.
Oral Health Diets
What Foods Cause Cavities?
Cavities, also known as dental caries, can be caused from excessive snacking, sugary drinks, poor oral hygiene, or bacteria. This tooth decay is called a cavity to describe the hole that forms in one’s tooth. If left untreated, this hole will get bigger and eventually cause you pain. Cavities can also lead to infections and tooth loss.
Certain foods increase the production of plaque on your teeth. The acids in the plaque are what tear at the enamel of your teeth, causing tooth decay to occur. In addition to the sweets we’re told to stay away from, starches made with white flour also increase the production of plaque. Try to limit your intake of the following:
How Can I Strengthen My Teeth Naturally?
Oral hygiene is a great place to start, but just like a poor diet can harm your teeth, a nutritious diet can lead to good oral health. If you’re trying to figure out which foods affect the health of your teeth and gums, start with a balanced diet. This includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins.
When your body is lacking nutrients, it becomes more challenging for the tissues in your mouth to fight off infection. Diets that are rich in vitamins and minerals reduce the risk of gum disease and bad breath. Also, be sure to include:
- Anti-inflammatory foods: Foods that reduce inflammation are also known to reduce your risk of gum disease.
- Calcium: In addition to strengthening your bones, calcium also promotes strong teeth.
- Water: The benefits of water are endless. Beyond these benefits, however, drinking water can help wash off the sugar left behind on your teeth.
According to the American Dental Association, there is an undeniable link between your oral and overall health. By being aware of the relationship the foods you eat have to your oral and overall health, you can create a nutritious diet that will benefit both.
If it has been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Because even small cavities can become more severe over time, it’s important to catch them early on. At 4Smile, we make the search for a dentist near you easy. Enter your zip code into the search bar above to get started now.