Your mouth is your gateway to a healthy body.
If you are what you eat, what do your teeth say about your diet? While you know that healthy foods make your body healthy, did you know that they play an important role in your dental health, too?
Eating too many sugary sweets, sodas and candies can do more than give you a stomachache, it can also lead to tooth decay and cavities. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious, nutrient-packed foods that are great for you and help keep your smile bright. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the relationship between what goes into your mouth and the way it looks, so you’ll know exactly what to reach for the next time a craving strikes!
The Important Role of Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is a substance that forms a protective shell around each of your teeth. It shields the sensitive inner layers of your teeth from damage and helps keep the outer layers looking pearly white. While it’s an extremely hard material, it isn’t completely resistant to decay. Acidic foods and drinks can wear away your tooth enamel and weaken it over time. In addition, as bacteria in your mouth feed on sugary, processed substances, they create additional acid that softens your enamel. This process is called acid erosion, and it’s irreversible. As your enamel contains no living cells, it lacks the ability to regrow itself. This means that once you damage it, it’s impossible to get it back naturally.
The good news? There are plenty of enamel-strengthening foods that are great for your teeth. Look for items that contain calcium, such as cheese and leafy greens, as well as those high in phosphorus, including eggs and fish.
You can also undergo preventative fluoride therapy to help keep your teeth as strong as possible. Fluoride strengthens your enamel and helps ward off the early signs of tooth decay. In your personal care routine, try adding a fluoride toothpaste for everyday protection and prevention.
Focus on valuable nutrients.
When you eat a diet rich in leafy greens, lean meats, and whole fruits and vegetables, you’ll reap the benefits from the inside out. This is because nutritious foods aren’t just good for your physical health and bodily systems, they also deliver the vitamins and minerals that you need for healthy, strong teeth and gums.
Some of the most important nutrients that your mouth needs to stay healthy include:
- Vitamins A, C, D, and K
There’s a bidirectional relationship that exists between your diet and your oral health. When you stick to healthy foods, you help keep the tissues in your mouth healthy, too. Likewise, the state of your mouth can influence the way that your body receives and processes the nutrients that it intakes. Healthy mouth, healthy body.
Check the sugar content.
While the occasional treat is perfectly fine, it’s best to limit your sweets as much as possible. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as diabetes and obesity. In addition, it can also create tiny holes in your tooth enamel, otherwise known as cavities.
While you know that soft drinks, cookies, and cakes are common culprits, there are also high amounts of sugar hidden in foods that you might not suspect. These include certain soups, cured meats, and even spaghetti sauce. That’s why it’s important to check the nutrition label before adding anything to your grocery cart.
While whole foods that contain natural sugar (such as fruits) are OK to consume in moderation, be wary of added sugars. These are sugars that food manufacturers put into their products to increase flavor and lengthen their shelf life.
Limit sticky foods.
Any food that clings to the surface of your teeth has the potential to decay your enamel. While honey, syrup, and molasses are near the top of the list, don’t forget to be wary of starchy foods. Potato chips and bread can also stick to your teeth and increase your risk of cavities.
Thankfully, you don’t have to eat your pancakes totally dry–as long as you stick to good oral health practices, including brushing and flossing twice a day, these foods are acceptable in moderation!
Be strategic with acidic foods.
Foods such as oranges, peaches, and tomatoes are an essential part of a healthy diet. Yet, they can also be hard on your gut, as well as your teeth. This is because these foods can contain a high amount of acid. Especially if you already suffer from gastrointestinal issues, eating them in large quantities can further inflame or weaken your stomach lining, leading to ulcers or reflux. In addition, a diet rich in acid-producing foods can also lead to bone and muscle deterioration over time.
When it comes to your teeth, the effects are equally damaging. If acid is allowed to sit on your tooth enamel for a period of time, it can begin to eat away at it. Try eating acidic foods with a meal so they’re less likely to stay in your mouth for too long. In addition, remember that acidic fruits in any form can cause damage, including those found in drinks, jellies, frozen pops, and more.
Optimizing your dental health for total wellness.
Taking great care of your body requires focusing on every aspect of it, including your teeth and gums. Think about it: Everything you consume has to pass through your mouth first. Shouldn’t that environment be clean and healthy? When you prioritize your oral health and nourish your body with healthy snacks, drinks, and meals, you set the stage for a lifetime of physical wellness.
In addition to sticking to a clean diet and completing your at-home dental care routine, don’t forget to schedule preventative visits with your dentist. We’re here and ready to see you, so make an appointment today!