The Impact of Nutrition on Dental Health


healthy eatingYou know to be healthy you must eat right, but did you know nutrition has a direct impact on your dental health? A well balanced diet is important for your overall health, and it can help to prevent cavities and gum disease as well. A poor diet can have a negative effect on your teeth, and it can lower your body’s natural defenses and open the way for harmful bacteria to take up residence in your mouth and contribute to cavities and periodontal disease.

Nutrition and Your Immune System

Poor nutrition affects your body’s immune system and makes your more susceptible to disease A lowered immune system also puts you at risk for periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to a greater risk for cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack and stroke. A lowered immune system also puts you at risk for diabetes and other serious health conditions. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and fiber will help keep your immune system healthy and strengthen your body’s ability to fight off bacterial infections and other threats to your health.

Make Smart Food Choices

The American Dietetic Association recommends a diet high in fiber and rich in vitamins. Fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, milk and dairy products, beans, lean meats and poultry are all recommended in a healthy diet. One of the keys to good nutrition is variety. Select foods low in sugars and fats for healthy snacks. Avoid fats and sweets, and don’t go on fad diets which limit entire food groups. You don’t have to cut out treats, but limit them and use moderation when enjoying them. A well balanced diet will give you the nutrients and vitamins you need to stay healthy.

Drinking lots of water keeps your body hydrated and clears your mouth of sugars and bacteria. The average adult should drink eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated. Water also promotes the production of salvia which protects the hard and soft tissues in your mouth. If you suffer from a chronic dry mouth, sugar free candy can help stimulate the production of saliva without promoting the growth of bacteria in your mouth.

Avoid foods which cling to your teeth such as cakes, candies, and dried fruits. These sweet soft foods stick to the surface of your teeth and can promote tooth decay. Instead choose foods which are healthier such as raw vegetables, nuts, cheese, plain yogurt, and sugarless candy for snacks. If you eat sticky foods, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards to remove any residue and prevent tooth decay.

Cookies, crackers and chips are known fermentable carbohydrates which means the carbs in them convert to sugars in your body. You can enjoy these treats, but eat them as part of a meal instead of on their own. Foods high in acids such as apples, dill pickles, and diet soda can break down the enamel on your teeth and contribute to tooth decay. If you enjoy these foods simply rinse your mouth out with water after you eat or drink them.

Healthy Choices Equal Good Dental Health

The foods you eat and drink have a direct impact on your dental and overall health. By making good choices and getting the nutrients you need, your body’s immune system will be able to protect and keep you healthy. Good nutrition also contributes to the development of healthy teeth in children, so develop the habit of making healthy food choices early in your child’s life. You are what you eat, and this is true when it comes to your oral health. Make health choices and enjoy good health a strong bright smile for many years to come.