What we eat and drink every day matters for our overall health. Because everything we consume passes through our mouths, we should carefully consider foods that contribute to our dental health as well as our overall well-being.
As a matter of fact, poor dental health is usually the first indication of poor overall health, which is why we encourage regular visits to a dentist as well as proper oral hygiene. If you are interested in improving your dental health, read on to find out more about how the foods you eat contribute to your health.
Mouth Healthy Foods
There are some foods that can contribute greatly to dental health. There are some foods that are especially beneficial when your goal is nutrition for dental health. Consider adding some of these foods into your daily consumption:
- Water: This beverage has a myriad of benefits for your entire body. When you drink fluoridated water, you enjoy the added benefit of strengthening your teeth and preventing cavities.
- Dairy Products: Yogurt and cheese are generally low in sugar and contain calcium, a vital mineral for tooth and bone health.
- Fruits and Vegetables: These foods are high in water and fiber. They also stimulate saliva production, which helps clean harmful acid and various food particles from your teeth.
- Nuts: This food can stimulate saliva production, which helps keep your teeth clean. They are also low in carbohydrates; this is important because carbs contribute to tooth decay by activating the bacteria that cause cavities.
- Lean Proteins: Foods like meat, poultry, and eggs can help strengthen teeth.
These foods can help reduce potential problems as well as boost dental health. Adding these foods can be a great step towards nutrition for dental health.
Foods that Can Damage Teeth
There are so many foods out there to enjoy. Unfortunately, some of these foods are bad for our teeth and general oral health. Consider cutting or reducing some of these foods if you want to improve your nutrition for dental health:
- Hard Candies: Sucking on these treats bathes your teeth in sugar, which contributes to cavities. Chewing on them can lead to cracks in your teeth.
- Ice: This is wonderful for cooling drinks— not for chewing, which can also crack your teeth or dental work.
- Citrus: Orange juice and grapefruit have great health benefits, but they also contain acid. This acid can contribute to tooth decay.
- Coffee and Tea: These beverages can stain your teeth over time. We also tend to add a lot of sugar to them, which is not good for oral health. Additionally, caffeine can dry out your mouth; a decrease in saliva means that harmful acids and food particles are not being rinsed from your teeth.
- Sticky Foods: Raisins and fruit snacks sound like a great idea, but these foods can stay on your teeth, giving bacteria a sugary feast. If you are going to indulge in these snacks, consider brushing afterwards.
- Crunchy Foods: Eating crackers and chips can leave a residue on the top of your teeth, which feeds the bacteria in your mouth.
- Alcohol: These beverages can increase your risk for mouth cancer as well as leading to dry mouth, which reduces the cleansing saliva your mouth needs to rinse food particles off of your teeth.
- Sports Drinks: Although there is some merit to these drinks, they often contain a lot of sugar, which feeds the bacteria in your mouth.
Indulging in these treats from time to time is generally not a problem as long as you are brushing and flossing properly, but cutting or reducing some of these foods and drinks can improve your nutrition for dental health.
Nutrition for Dental Health
If you have any further questions about nutrition for dental health, you can talk to your dentist or read more about this topic on the American Dental Association’s website.