Healthy eating is important for one’s physical and mental well-being, but did you know that it can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay? When oral bacteria produce acidic products, it destroys your teeth and other hard tissues in your mouth. Certain foods contain higher levels of bacteria that can result in cavities.
It is not true that improper eating habits cause gum disease directly, but poor nutrition and diet can increase the spread of gum disease.
Poor nutrition not only compromises the immune system but also increases the risk of many diseases. People with weak immune systems are more prone to periodontal disease. Researchers have also found a link between dental health and systemic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, eating a well-balanced diet can improve your dental health as well as reduce the risk of other diseases.
How does a balanced diet contribute to a healthy lifestyle?
It is recommended to consume a well-balanced diet that includes variety and moderation. You should develop eating habits that follow the recommendations of reputed health organizations, such as the American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health. It is recommended to select foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, such as chicken, fish, or beans. Taking in the recommended amount of fiber and vitamins can also be beneficial.
Keeping your mouth moist with water will protect your dental health. Saliva helps protect both hard and soft oral tissues. Sugarless candy or gum can stimulate saliva if your mouth feels dry.
Sticky foods and those that contain sugar or starch can lead to tooth decay. When you snack, stay away from soft, sweet, and sticky foods such as cakes, candies, and dried fruits. Consider foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, and sugarless gum or candy instead.
Whenever you consume fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers, cookies, and chips, eat them with a meal. Food combinations neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay. Cheese and crackers are good examples. If you do indulge in an occasional sugary snack, remember to brush and floss thoroughly afterward.
What can you do to improve your nutritional status with the help of your dentist?
Conditions such as tooth loss, joint dysfunction, and pain can impair chewing and are common in older adults, people on restrictive diets, and people undergoing medical treatment. These people may be too isolated or weak to consume nutritionally balanced meals at a time when it is especially critical. Speak to your dental health professional about what you can do for yourself or someone you know in these circumstances. Your dentist should be able to suggest a diet that is healthy for both your teeth and body.
If you are experiencing sensitivity or discomfort with one or more of your teeth, contact Scott A. Norton, DMD of Louisville to schedule an appointment.