Diet. You’ve heard a lot about how it impacts your health, weight, cholesterol, and even how well you sleep, but did you know that what you eat has a profound effect on your oral health, such as your teeth and gums? A bad diet can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which, in addition, to be painful and unsightly, can lead to and complicate other health issues.
Sugar is Not Your Friend
Let’s start with the most obvious issue: sugar. Sugar, albeit tasty, is not your friend. In fact, it’s your enemy from both a dental and overall health perspective. When sugar makes contact with bacteria in your mouth, an acid is produced that attacks your teeth for 20 minutes! That means that for at least 20 minutes, your teeth are being slowly eaten away. Many of the foods that contain sugar can also cause issues. Hard candies can damage your teeth, which have been weakened over time by sugar consumption. Because soft drinks are carbonated, they tend to accelerate the damage and decay caused by the sugar present in them.
Look Out for Hidden Sugars
Barbecue sauce, ketchup, milk, salad dressing, cereal, baked beans, and bread. All of these foods are examples of where you could find hidden sugar. One of the least obvious sources of hidden sugars are carbohydrates – found in potatoes, corn, and other favorite foods. All carbohydrates break down into sugars over time, although more complex carbs like sweet potatoes break down more slowly and digest differently.
Don’t Miss Important Nutrients
While there are foods to avoid, there are certain foods you want to include as well. The most important part of choosing healthy snacks is to select options high in protein and low in carbs and sugar.
Cheese and yogurt are delicious and help add calcium to your diet, which keeps your teeth strong and protect your tooth enamel. The good bacteria in yogurt have also been proven to improve the health of your gums. Leafy greens contain tons of vitamins and minerals, as well as folic acid, which can help treat gum disease in pregnant women. Apples and carrots are great sources of fiber, which helps clean the teeth while eating and keep your digestive system healthy.
If you have questions or would like help planning a diet that benefits your total body, contact our team here at George Smith, DDS. Dr. Smith and our team are committed to helping our patients live a happy, healthy life through quality dental care.