All the food and drinks that enter our body pass through our mouths and come in direct contact with our teeth. This means these foods and drinks have a direct impact on the health of your smile. A typical American diet can consist of processed foods loaded with sugar and highly acidic drinks (like soda and energy drinks). The sugar and acids can erode your enamel causing tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. Focusing on our smile healthy diet will impact not only your overall health but also your dental health.
Nutrition Tips For A Healthy Smile
Avoid Sugary Sweets. Tooth decay is known to be linked with a diet rich in sugary, sticky foods along with poor dental health habits. Knowing this it makes it important to limit sugary foods and drinks and maintain good dental hygiene. Many people believe this just includes candy and cakes. However, sodas, energy drinks, and even fruit juices are also quite high in sugar. Other high sugar culprits include jarred spaghetti sauce, cereals, and canned fruits. A good tip is to read the labels of the food you are choosing at the supermarket and if you do indulge then brush, floss, and rinse following to minimize the dental health damage.
Avoid Sticky Foods. Sticky foods (raisins, honey, and molasses) can adhere or stick to the surface of your teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay. Bread and snacks like potato chips are also a known culprit. When eaten in moderation, along with a good dental hygiene regimen (brushing, flossing and rinsing regularly), these foods are acceptable to eat in small amounts.
Be On The Lookout For Acidic Foods. While many think acidic is just a drink issue it is not. Many foods, like oranges and tomatoes, are highly acidic and can damage your tooth enamel through erosion. A good tip is to eat these items in a meal vs alone. Again if you do choose these types of foods and drinks just follow good dental hygiene afterwards to limit the damaging effects.
Avoid Teeth Staining Drinks For A Whiter Smile. Some drinks (coffee, tea, and red wine) are very likely to stain your teeth over time. These drinks get their staining abilities from color pigments called chromogens. These chromogens can stain and attach to your tooth’s enamel. The easy way to still enjoy these beverages is to rinse thoroughly afterward with water or if able to brush and floss.
Consume A Well Balanced Diet. It is recommended that eating a well-balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein such as fish or beans, and dairy to help keep your general and dental health intact. Choosing a variety of thee food items can give you all the nutrients and vitamins you need to stay healthy for a life time.
Watch For Foods That Cause Inflammation. A diet that avoids inflammatory causing foods correlates with healthier gums and fewer lost teeth. This is according to research published in June 2017 in the journal Clinical Nutrition. Certain foods (saturated fats and refined foods) contribute to inflammation in the body and oral cavity. It is important to note that periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. So limiting foods that can increase inflammation in the body will help make a healthier smile. Periodontal disease has been shown to have links to heart disease and alzheimer’s disease as well.
Add Healthy Fats To Your Diet. It sounds odd to call something a healthy fat but it is very true. Heart and smile healthy fats include olive oil, avocado as well as salmon. These foods contain omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to be anti inflammatory in nature.
Get Enough Calcium. Studies have shown that maintaining proper levels of calcium intake (approximately 1,000 to 1,300 mg daily) can decrease chances of developing periodontal disease. Foods that include calcium include dairy products (think milk and cheese), beans, almonds, and leafy green vegetables.
Stay Hydrated With Water. Plain regular old water is the best thing for our teeth and our health. Water can rinse our mouths as well as keep the tissues moist to protect against the harmful foods and bacteria attacking our teeth.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum Instead Of Snacking. Chewing gum stimulates saliva and has the ability to move the materials that stick to our teeth and can lead to tooth decay. The ADA studies have shown that the increased saliva also adds calcium and phosphate to the mouth, which makes tooth enamel stronger. Your breath will also be fresher throughout the day.
Dental Nutrition Conclusion
Eating healthy is not just for our overall body. Numerous studies have shown a direct connection between oral health and general health. Our body works as one and it is all interconnected. Remember to see your dentist regularly for routine examinations and dental hygiene cleanings.