It is no secret that what you eat affects your physical health, controlling your weight and either protecting you or making you more prone to illness. However, how nutrition affects your dental health is less often considered. Most people know that sugary foods can cause cavities, but the relationship between nutrition and oral health goes much deeper than that.
Sugary Foods and Tooth Decay
Eating foods and drinking beverages that contain added sugars can cause tooth decay and other dental carries. The reason for this is that the sugar sticks to the teeth and the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugar and releases acids. It is these acids that eat away at the teeth. Beverages are the worst for this, as they bathe all of the teeth in sugar every time you take a sip.
Issues with Soft Foods
Soft foods such as breads, cookies, pastas, and dried fruits stick to the teeth. Unfortunately, these soft foods are often high in sugar – or carbohydrates, which break down into sugar. Soft foods can be just as bad for the teeth as soda and candy, but are not usually thought of as being unhealthy, which can be deceiving. Acidic soft foods such as tomatoes and oranges can also contribute to tooth decay if eaten alone regularly.
Foods That Protect Teeth
Hard cheese has several properties that help protect against tooth decay. Cheese contains casein, calcium, and phosphate, which help to slow down demineralization. Cheese increases the production of saliva, which helps to clear debris away from the teeth. Leafy greens and almonds are also rich in calcium, which helps to keep the teeth strong.
Foods that are high in protein, like meats and eggs, are rich in phosphorus. This mineral is very important to tooth and overall dental health. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain fiber, water, vitamin A and vitamin C. Water and fiber help to clear the teeth of debris and stimulate saliva production. Vitamin C keeps gums healthy and vitamin A helps keep tooth enamel strong.
Snacking and Sipping Dangers
When food is eaten all at once, the body is generally able to clear the sugars and other substances left on the teeth away before they have time to have a detrimental impact. Sipping and snacking continually exposes the teeth to these substances, so the body is not able to clear the harmful sugars away completely before more is introduced. It is recommended that food and beverages be consumed no more than six times per day and that everything be consumed at once, rather than nibbling.
More Nutrition and Dental Health Information
There are many more ways that diet and nutrition affect dental health. To learn more, consult your Orlando dentist. Your dentist maybe able to make recommendations based on your specific dietary needs and health history that can help keep your teeth strong and healthy.