What you eat and oral health go hand in hand. Eating nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups promotes healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein foods, calcium-rich foods and whole grains provides essential nutrients for optimum oral health as well as your overall health. If your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection. This may contribute to periodontal disease, a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
What You Eat and Oral Health
Every beverage and particle of food you consume comes into contact with your teeth and impacts the health of your teeth and gums. A typical American diet of sugary, processed foods and highly acidic drinks wear away tooth enamel, causing cavities.
There are foods that can harm your teeth, while others contain essential nutrients to keep them healthy and strong. Stick to the basics found in the food pyramid, designed to give you a healthy serving of all the necessary food groups. Learn more about the foods that are best for you from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
Foods That Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Fluoridated tap water is the best beverage to protect your teeth! If you’re thirsty, reach for a glass of water. Bottled water is better than sweetened drinks, but most bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars.
Whole grains contain B vitamins, iron, and magnesium, all important ingredients for bones, teeth and gums. Foods such as bran, brown rice, whole-grain cereals and pasta are good sources of whole grains.
Calcium is a prime ingredient for preventing tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), eating foods containing calcium and phosphorous, such as meat, eggs and fish can help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy, and helps prevent gum disease. Milk, yogurt and cheese along with leafy greens, canned fish and almonds are good sources of calcium.
Fruit, Fiber and Veggies
High-fiber foods keep saliva flowing, which helps create mineral defenses against tooth decay. Good sources of fiber include beans, bran, peanuts, almonds, dried fruits, and fresh fruits, like bananas, apples and oranges. Chewing foods such as carrots, apples and cucumbers are good for your teeth because they act as a cleansing agent to clear away harmful bacteria that would otherwise cling to your teeth.
Protein is important for healthy teeth and is an essential building block for growth. Sources of protein include lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends heart-healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish (like salmon) that work to promote healthy teeth. Healthy fats are also an important component of an anti-inflammatory diet that promotes oral health.
Regular Dental Check Ups
Proper nutrition and regular brushing and flossing, along with regular dental checkups are critical components to having healthy teeth.
A check-up every six months with your “Hometown Family Dentist”, Dr. Angela S. Evanson, DDS, will help keep your mouth on a healthy course.
Her office is located at 17167 E. Cedar Gulch Parkway #202 in Parker, Colorado, with easy access to patients in the communities of Highlands Ranch, Aurora, Castle Rock and Lone Tree. Make an appointment online or call to schedule an appointment today at (720) 409-0008.
Good oral hygiene at home, healthy eating habits and dental check-ups twice a year, will help reduce your risk of enamel erosion and cavities, and will help you to enjoy healthy teeth for a lifetime.