Nutrition and Oral Health
Establishing good nutritional habits can be especially beneficial to promote good eating patterns and food choices for the rest of your life. Think of your mouth as the doorway to the rest of the body. Whatever gets consumed not only affects your growth, development, weight, and energy levels, but oral health as well. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is vital for the development of strong, healthy teeth.
General Tips for a Healthy Diet and a Healthy Mouth
- Limit your consumption of sugary foods and beverages. When plaque combines with the sugars and starches, an acid is produced that attacks enamel on the teeth, and eventually causes decay. Sugary drinks include soda pop, energy drinks, Gatorade, chocolate milk and juice with added sugar.
- Make sure your diet includes a balance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy products. The nutrients found in these foods are important to your growth and health.
- Look for sugar in unexpected places. Many foods that aren't even sweet foods contain added sugar like ketchup, salad dressing, bread, etc. Read the ingredients labels to see if sugar has been added to a food. Sugar can come in other forms as well, like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose.
- When sugary snacks and drinks are consumed throughout the entire day, the sugar sits on teeth for long periods of time, producing acid which cause cavities.
- Fun foods, like candy and starchy snacks, should be reserved for special occasions, not everyday snacking.
- Chew Xylitol gum to help prevent cavities!
- Ensure you brush twice a day and floss to eliminate food debris that leads to harmful plaque and bacteria, and causes tooth decay.
Oral Health and Heart Health
Oral health and heart disease are connected by the spread of bacteria from your mouth to other parts of your body through the blood stream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart. This is why is is so important to brush properly twice a day, floss once a day and visit your dentist every six months for checkups.