Good oral health begins with a well-balanced diet
Everybody knows that a well-balanced diet is good for a healthy lifestyle. Your food choices affect your body - but they also greatly affect your oral health. What you choose to eat helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Your mouth, teeth and gums are also your tools for eating, chewing and swallowing so it's important to keep them healthy with the right foods.
A HEALTHY DIET
According to choosemyplate.gov, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, a balanced diet should include:
Combined, these should cover half your plate at meals.
Half the grains you eat should be whole grains.
Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Make lean protein choices.
DIET AND TOOTH DECAY
According to the American Dental Association, the foods you eat and what you drink can have a direct influence on how often cavities occur and how they progress. This is dependent on a few factors including:
LIMIT THE SUGAR IN YOUR DIET
Bacteria found in your mouth feed off of the sugars in food and release acids, which can lead to tooth decay. Sweets and snack foods are a concern because of the amount and type of sugar they contain, not to mention that they offer little or no nutritional value.
Sugary drinks like soda, lemonade and sweetened coffee or tea are particularly harmful because the constant sipping creates a sugar bath over the teeth and promotes tooth decay.
FOODS THAT MAY BENEFIT DENTAL HEALTH
Foods rich in calcium and other nutrients are good for tooth health. They include cheese, milk, yogurt, leafy greens and almonds. For sources of phosphorous, try protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Both calcium and phosphorous are important for protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel.
Other healthy food choices are fruits and vegetables, since they are high in both water and fiber. These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which will wash harmful acids and food particles away from the teeth. Many contain Vitamin C, which is important for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds, and also Vitamin, which is a key nutrient in building tooth enamel.
Preventing Tooth Erosion
Tooth erosion, or tooth wear, is the loss of the surrounding tooth structure. This loss occurs when the hard part of your teeth - which is called the enamel - is worn away by acid. Overtime, this erosion can leave your teeth sensitive, cracked, and discolored.
What causes tooth erosion?
Acid is the main cause of tooth erosion. So, drinking carbonated beverages, energy and sports drinks, and pure fruit juice, which all contain high levels of acid, can cause tooth erosion, especially when consumed in large amounts. Certain medical conditions, including acid reflux and bulimia, also can cause tooth erosion because they cause increased levels of stomach acids in the mouth.
What are the signs and symptoms of tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion can present in a variety of ways. Below are some common signs and symptoms.
What can I do to prevent tooth erosion?
You can help prevent tooth erosion from occurring by taking these simple steps:
How can I deal with the sensitivity caused by tooth erosion?
You can reduce sensitivity by using specially formulated toothpaste or over-the-counter enamel-building products. However, always be sure to check with your general dentist before you try any new dental products.
Tooth erosion impacts everyone in different ways. Make sure you speak with your dentist about your oral hygiene and find out what else you can do to protect yourself from tooth erosion.