Bedford Dental Group recognizes that it’s National Nutrition Month, so today we’d like to talk a little bit about how your nutrition is essential to your overall health, but also to your dental health as well. Making better choices about what and how we eat plays right into preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Preventing tooth decay and gum disease also helps to prevent health complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, premature birth, and even erectile dysfunction.
So, what is it that we should and shouldn’t eat? What are ways that we can eat that will set us up for success in the future as far as our overall and oral health are concerned? First we can start with the good. Here are some examples of what you can eat with a clear conscience. By eating the following foods, you can actually enhance your oral health and your overall health simultaneously.
Trust the Tap Every Once in Awhile
Might sound like a bold move, but fluoridated water is excellent for your oral health. Regular, bottled water is also better for your teeth than flavored, sugary beverages. Fluoridated water is especially effective in fortifying your teeth against acid attacks which can certainly cause cavities and tooth decay.
Opt for Fruits and Veggies Instead of Sugary Snacks
Chances are you’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables. But if you replace your junk food snacks with fruits and veggies, you’ll see a world of difference in your energy, your well-being, and your oral health. Both are high in water and fiber which will help offset sugars, helping to keep your teeth clean. Chewing also stimulates saliva production, which washes away harmful acids and food debris from your teeth. Do make sure that if you are eating blueberries, raspberries, any fruit high in sugar that leaves particles prone to getting stuck in your teeth that you try to brush right after, or find a way to rinse your mouth out, to avoid sugars producing acids and doing harm to your pearly whites.
Nuts are also a healthy snack alternative. Nuts are low in carbs, which activate acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. Nuts are packed with protein, which is crucial to your overall health and performance as well. Make sure that you try to opt more for softer nuts, like walnuts (which are rich in plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is healthy for the brain). Almonds are common contributors to tooth damage, so if you can avoid them, it’s better to do so.
Alright, so we’ve gone over some of the foods that can do wonders for your teeth. Let’s now talk about some of the foods and beverages that you should try to avoid in order to promote nutritional balance, overall health, and oral health.
Cut the Candy (Especially Sour Candies)
We all know that candy is bad for your teeth. Sour candy is particularly bad for your mouth because it contains specific types of acids that are especially tough on your teeth. Candy is often chewy which can stick to your teeth and also do damage to amalgam fillings and other dental work you might have had done in the past. If you must eat sweets, grab a chocolate square, which will provide easy chewing and wash away quickly. Sugar and carbs are harmful, reacting to the plaque on your teeth, releasing harmful acids which attack your tooth enamel, creating cavities and promoting tooth decay.
Cut the Carbs
This one might be hard for some, but easy for others, especially those of our patients who are gluten intolerant. Bread, after being chewed, becomes this paste-like substance that sticks to the crevices of your teeth. Like sugar, when carbohydrates react with plaque on your teeth, harmful acid is produced, causing cavities.
Get on the Wagon
Cutting drinking will help your general health in more ways than one. Alcohol has been shown to hinder protein synthesis, compromising your body’s ability to absorb important protein which will fuel your body and help you build muscle. Alcohol also dries out your mouth, which provides a fertile ground for acids and bacteria to damage your teeth. Drink plenty of water and use a fluoridated rinse if you insist on drinking alcohol.
Stay Away From Soda
Stay away from soda and other carbonated beverages, which allow plaque to produce more acid which will attack tooth enamel. They also dry out your mouth, staining, and discoloring your teeth in the process.
Avoid Fruits High in Acid
Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons should be avoided. We know, those are some of the tastiest juices, but they also contain a ton of acid which will work to erode your enamel. Instead, use a dietary supplement with your daily dose of Vitamin C included. You could also eat alternative foods that are high in Vitamin C. Kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and red peppers all rank in the top ten. If you do go with an orange or a fruit high in acid, try to incorporate a brushing and flossing session afterwards.
Bedford Dental Group would like to encourage you to set the tone in March during this National Nutrition Month and incorporate balanced nutrition into your daily life. Your teeth will thank you for it. And remember, if you haven’t had your routine checkup lately, schedule your appointment with Bedford Dental Group today!