Food for thought: Good nutrition for a healthy mouth
What we eat and drink has a huge impact on our oral health. Bad nutrition is closely linked to your likelihood of developing cavities, gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer. What you decide to put in your mouth can have both positive and negative outcomes for your teeth and gums, as well as your overall health.
The Practice dentists know that a balanced diet low in sugary and acidic foods and drinks can help you avoid potential dental issues. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can strengthen your teeth and gums for a healthier and happier smile as you age.
Let’s explore the impact of nutrition on common dental issues and how to eat for optimal oral wellness.
When it comes to cavities, sugar is your enemy. The bacteria inside your mouth feast on sugar and other starchy foods, in turn creating acids that attack tooth enamel. If you frequently consume sugary food and drinks you have a higher risk of developing cavities.
Foods high in sugar such as soft drinks, lollies, baked goods, and even some fruit juices can cause serious damage to your teeth over time. Here are some dos and don’ts to avoid cavities:
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks like soft drinks and juice.
- Eat fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Choose dairy, leafy greens, and nuts for calcium and vitamin D to strengthen enamel.
- Chew sugar-free gum – it helps neutralise cavity-causing acids.
- Wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing.
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleans.
- Ask your dentist about preventive measures like sealants and fluoride treatments.
- Limit sugary foods and beverages – they feed the bacteria that cause decay.
- Brush right after eating – it can damage enamel.
- Ignore cavities or secondary decay around fillings or crowns.
Gum disease is closely linked to nutritional deficiencies and inflamed gums may be a sign of low vitamin C. Eating foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, strawberries and broccoli can help you maintain healthy gums. You may be able to reduce inflammation by eating antioxidant foods such as green tea, berries and nuts. Always stay hydrated, which also helps to wash away food particles and bacteria.
Losing teeth doesn’t only affect your self-confidence, it can impact your ability to chew and speak. To maintain strong teeth and reduce the chance of tooth loss, nutrition is key. Eat foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products, fortified non-dairy milk and leafy greens. Foods high in phosphorus like fish, eggs and lean meat will help to support tooth structure. Foods rich in vitamin D help with calcium absorption.
It’s important to limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks and practise good oral hygiene, brushing your teeth twice a day and regularly flossing. 6-monthly checkups are also important for preventative care.
Having a well-balanced diet can help contribute to the prevention of oral cancer. It’s vital to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including those rich in antioxidants. Limit alcohol consumption and avoid tobacco products. It’s especially important to ensure you attend regular 6-monthly appointments with your dentist to ensure you don’t miss any early signs such as mouth sores, white or red patches or unexplained bleeding.
Read our blog article – Why you should visit the dentist every 6 months.
Good nutrition for oral health
The right good choices can positively impact your oral health. Here are 7 tips to boost your overall oral health with good nutrition:
- Limit your intake of sugar.
- Drink water instead of soft drinks or juice.
- Enjoy leafy greens, nuts, legumes, fish and other foods that are high in calcium and vitamins C and D.
- Eat the rainbow – lots of fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants.
- Consume lean proteins such as fish, poultry, eggs and legumes for a strong immune system.
- Avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
- Avoid tobacco products.
At The Practice, we are here to help you achieve your oral health goals. Our experienced dentists in West End will support and guide you every step of the way, providing you with the best advice regarding nutrition and oral health. We want you to have healthy teeth and gums, and have a healthy body fuelled by nutritious food!
If you’d like to talk to one of our dentists about your oral health and diet, contact The Practice online or call 07 3733 3223.