Everyone knows, you are what you eat. But your mouth is also what you eat. The gateway to your body is impacted by the food and drink you put into your mouth and affects how healthy your teeth and gums are too. By improving your diet, you not only improve your well-being, you reduce your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Poor nutrition is a vicious cycle that impacts your immune system and increase your susceptibility to a host of diseases and disorders.
Research has also shown a link between oral health and systemic afflictions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A well-balanced diet can improve your dental health and reduce your risk of developing other diseases. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid unnatural diets. Focus on developing a well-balanced diet that includes every food group (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, dairy). Fad diets that eliminate entire food groups are detrimental and can result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
- Drink lots of water. A moist mouth, whether through saliva or water, helps protect your oral tissues. A dry mouth can lead to decay because there isn’t enough moisture to wash away bad bacteria. You can stimulate saliva production by chewing sugarless gum. Note, however, that chronic dry mouth can sometimes be a sign of oral health issues like periodontal disease.
- Indulge thoughtfully. If you can’t give up snacking, make smarter choices, like raw vegetables, nuts, or cheese. If you need something sweet, chocolate is better than a sugary candy because it is washed away more easily by saliva or a swish of water.
- Mix and match. Instead of snacking on chips or crackers by themselves, make them part of your meal or combine them with other snacks, like cheese and crackers. The combo of foods will help neutralize acids in the mouth and minimize tooth decay.
Sometimes, existing health conditions can inhibit a person’s ability to eat healthily. If tooth loss, jaw pain, or denture discomfort are getting in the way of proper nutrition, there are plenty of restorative dentistry and smile makeover options that can provide you with the kind of oral health foundation to support a healthy diet, like dental implants, porcelain veneers, and mouth guards. Your holistic dentist can also conduct various biocompatibility tests to determine what culprits may be inhibiting good oral health.
Save Yourself from Sugar
We are a society of sugar addicts. And, unfortunately, even the most conscientious of eaters can have a vice that keeps their mouth bathed in sugar on a regular basis. Coffee, hard candy, soft drinks, and energy drinks are all things that are often nursed in the mouth over a period of time, which exposes your teeth to a constant influx of sugar. That’s a perfect recipe for cavities and tooth decay.
You may think you’re promoting your own diet and healthy eating by maintaining a constant sipping habit or keeping just one piece of candy or a lollipop going to give you a small treat while diverting you from the bigger temptations. While this may work for your waistline, it is destroying your teeth in the process.
Visit Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence to discuss a healthy diet for your teeth and overall well-being, and to determine what might be inhibiting your ability to have a healthy, perfect smile.