Do you know that your diet can impact your dental health? Eating the right foods can help protect against cavities, gum disease, and other common oral issues. Oral health is more important than you realize, and a healthy diet plays a significant role. Rufe Snow Dental Team advises the best way to maintain healthy teeth is to eat nutritionally-rich foods, because bad eating habits can seriously hinder your oral health.
Here are 5 dental diseases you can prevent through proper diet
Tooth Decay– A cavity is a hole in the tooth’s enamel. Almost 90% of school-age children and adults have at least one cavity. Cavities are caused by a buildup of bacteria in plaque on your teeth. Foods high in sugars increase the risk of tooth decay and subsequent cavities, so eating a balanced diet with limited sugar is best for maintaining healthy teeth.
Periodontal Disease– More than 50% of American adults over forty have some form of periodontal or gum disease, an inflammatory condition which can lead to bone loss around the teeth. Foods high in calcium and vitamin C can help promote good gum health and prevent periodontal disease.
Gingivitis– This is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup and bacteria. If left untreated, it may create “pockets,” between the teeth and gums. When that happens, harmful bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause other chronic health problems.
Eating foods high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables helps keep dental plaque off your teeth and gums, reducing the risk of developing gingivitis.
Malocclusion – This is a misalignment of the teeth or jaw caused by poor dental habits or genetics. Eating healthy sources of calcium like cheese, yogurt, milk, and nuts can help reduce malocclusion over time.
Enamel Erosion– Enamel protects the teeth from damage and caused from chewing and biting. Acids and sugars in food and drinks can ruin it. When dental enamel wears away, it exposes tooth structure to cavities, and dental problems. Eating foods high in phosphorous and calcium can help maintain dental enamel strength and prevent erosion.
What foods help your teeth get stronger?
Foods that are good for your teeth are also good for your overall health. Foods high in calcium and other nutrients can provide the nourishment you need for healthy teeth.
Foods rich in calcium and protein– Calcium strengthens the teeth and jaw bone. Milk, cheese, and other dairy products are good sources, soy milk is a good option for vegans, and sesame seeds are also calcium rich.
Protein-rich foods also help balance the pH levels in the mouth, preventing the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. You can get protein from meat, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, and green, leafy vegetables.
Foods rich in Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps eliminate the bacteria from the surface of your teeth. Vitamin C strengthens the blood vessels and connective tissues within the mouth. It slows the development of gum inflammation, which can lead to gum disease. Citrus fruits such as oranges, and grapefruit are beneficial for oral health when consumed in moderation. Fruits such as strawberries, grapefruit, oranges, apples, and cranberries are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants and help maintain the overall health of the oral cavity.
Foods rich in magnesium – Magnesium helps strengthen both the tooth enamel and the jaw. Magnesium is found in whole grains such as wheat, oats, corn, and rice. You should try to avoid processed grains as they dissolve into sugars in your mouth and harm your teeth.
Foods rich in vitamin D – Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium and prevents enamel erosion. Vitamin D in fatty fish can reduce the risk of tooth decay. Oily fish are also high in omega-3 fats which aid gum health and may even prevent periodontitis. Tuna, mackerel, salmon, and trout are some fish with high amounts of vitamin D and omega-3s.
Foods high in fiber-Fruits and vegetables help keep dental plaque off your teeth and gums, reducing the risk of developing gingivitis. Leafy greens help reduce bacteria, try kale, spinach, turnip greens, Swiss chard, and arugula. Eat whole, nutrient foods that provide plenty of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D. Foods like leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, cheese, yogurt, meats, beans, mushrooms, fish, and eggs.
One should opt for raw, crispy fruits and vegetables. Raw vegetables and fruits, such as apples, carrots, and peppers, can clean your teeth. Eating an apple after a meal helps remove food particles from your teeth, especially when you cannot brush your teeth.
Fluoride-rich foods – Fluoride helps keep your teeth healthy and prevents tooth decay. Fluoride is not found only in toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride is also found in teas, a great alternative to coffee that stains the teeth. Green tea also contains polyphenol, which prevents plaque from building up and improves enamel health. Drinking green tea decreases inflammation, prevents the growth of bacteria, and refreshes your breath.
When it comes to refreshments, water is the best option. Drinking fluoridated water strengthens your enamel, washes away food particles from hard-to-reach places, increases saliva, and keeps your teeth clean.
Xylitol gum-Chewing xylitol gum after meals when you cannot brush your teeth is a good solution for cleaner teeth and fresher breath. It increases saliva and prevents the bacteria from causing cavities.
What foods to avoid for your teeth and why?
Foods high in sugar or salt and with no nutritional value, such as sweets, savory snacks, crackers, and chips, should be eaten in moderation or even avoided. The sugars and carbohydrates remain on your teeth, increasing bacteria that cause plaque and cavities.
- Carbohydrates break down quickly in the mouth and are just sugar for bacteria to grow. Savoring comfort food is not the best for your teeth and gums.
- Dried fruit is not as healthy as it sounds, as it lacks water and leaves behind a substance that feeds sugar directly to your oral microbiome. Instead, whole fruit is more beneficial to oral health because of the water content.
- A diet based on refined and processed carbohydrate foods can lead to tooth decay and gingival inflammation.
To build strong teeth, focus on foods that are low in carbohydrates and sugars, high in fiber, and contain healthy nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Improve your eating habits
It is not only what you eat and drink that matters but also the time and how often you have your meals and drinks. Bad eating habits can increase the chance of cavities or oral disease. The combinations of foods you consume and how you eat them matter for your dental health. The type of food, solid, liquid, or soluble, plays an important role, too.
Good dental health is not just about cavities but protecting your teeth and gums that secure them in your jaw. Just like your body, your teeth need proper nutrition to stay strong and healthy. You need strong, healthy teeth to enjoy your meals and have good digestion and health. So, nutritious food will give you strong teeth.
Following a healthy diet not only helps you feel better overall, and it can also keep your teeth strong and healthy for years to come! If you need answers about your dental health or nutrition, consult with Rufe Snow Dental Team. They will provide more detailed advice on maintaining good oral health through diet. Rufe Snow can create an individualized dental care plan that works best for you!