Nutrition and Oral Health: Eating for a Healthy Smile
You can brush and floss all you want, but if you don’t maintain a proper diet, your teeth will still suffer. Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible; not only are they bad for a healthy smile, but they also contribute to a number of general health problems.
Eat clean, brush frequently, and read below for some nutrition tips on eating a healthy, tooth-friendly diet.
Try to limit your snacking throughout the day. If you can’t, then choose snacks that aren’t sticky. Sticky foods, like peanut butter or honey, create pockets of bacteria on your teeth that are hard to wash away. These bacteria will eat away at your enamel until you either rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth. Over time, the cumulative effects will add up and you could be facing serious cavities and periodontal disease. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are all healthier alternatives that will satisfy those hunger pangs and provide your body with necessary nutrients.
Remember the last sentence where we recommended you eat a lot of fruits and veggies? Well, not only do they contain less damaging sugar, but fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber. While you are chewing, the fiber acts like a scrubber, scraping the bacteria off your teeth.
But doesn’t fruit have a lot of sugar? For the most part, the sugars you find in fruits will not cause cavities. Just don’t go overboard and eat fruit all day every day. Remember, in any healthy diet, moderation is the key.
Gum, sugarless gum
Chewing gum stimulates saliva production in your mouth. If you chew gum after you eat, the saliva will help wash away any bacteria that may be sticking around. An added benefit? The gum will freshen your breath. So, as long as the gum is sugarless, go ahead—chew to your heart’s content.
Limiting processed foods and building the majority of your diet around fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates are the pillars to a healthy, modern diet. Not only will processed sugars increase plaque and tartar buildup, they can also contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and a long list of other diseases. By implementing some of the changes outlined above, you won’t just create a diet for healthy teeth—you’ll create a diet for a healthy you.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventative dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. To learn more about the nutrition connection to oral health, contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment. Find out how he can help you maintain your healthy smile.