We all know how our diet affects our physical health. Carbs and sugars certainly taste great, but too much can lead to issues like weight gain, heart problems, diabetes and more.
It’s no surprise then that what we eat and drink can also harm our teeth. Before you rifle around in your pantry, check out which foods to avoid and which to try incorporating into your daily diet.
The foods and beverages we consume play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our teeth and gums. A diet high in sugary, carbonated and acidic substances can have detrimental effects on oral health, while foods rich in gluten and starch can also contribute to certain issues.
Sugary foods and beverages, like candies, gluten-heavy cakes, cookies, and soda, can create a favorable environment for harmful bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria feed on the sugars, producing acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay over time. Keep in mind that there are some foods surprisingly high in sugar, like:
Additionally, carbonated drinks, especially sugary sodas, are trouble for oral health. Not only do they contain high levels of sugar, but they are also acidic — a combination that increases the risk for enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity. Regular consumption of carbonated drinks can weaken the protective layer of enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay and other oral issues.
Other acidic foods, including citrus fruits, tomatoes and vinegary dressings can also contribute to enamel erosion. Acidic substances soften the enamel and make it more vulnerable to cavities. Bread, crackers, pasta and other starchy foods can also indirectly affect oral health. When these foods get trapped between teeth, bacteria forms that contributes to gum disease and decay.
Finally, a diet high in sugary, acidic and/or carbonated foods and beverages can result in dry mouth, or xerostomia, a condition where the mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva to keep it adequately moist. Saliva plays an important role in maintaining oral health by washing away food particles and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria.
Maintaining a healthy diet promotes good dental hygiene and overall well-being. Here are some practical tips for integrating a healthier diet into your lifestyle.
Having a good diet doesn’t only help your teeth and gums, but also provides a slew of other benefits: better focus, more energy and improved mental health.
We’re by no means telling you to eliminate carbonated, sugary or acidic foods altogether. Enjoy your favorite snacks in moderation!
And to further protect your teeth and gums, never miss a dental appointment. From exams and cleanings to treating any identified issues, a professional dentist will be able to maintain or restore your teeth so you can eat that cookie, chip or other treat knowing your smile is well cared for.
Get an affordable dental quote and start your dental health journey today!