Your oral health can be a big indicator of overall health. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you care for your mouth in the right way. This includes practicing the best hygiene, like flossing, brushing, and rinsing twice a day, but the health of your mouth depends on the foods you eat as well. Diet and oral health are very connected. It’s all about having a beneficial nutrition plan in place that will allow you to choose healthier foods and drinks for your mouth. Let’s look at what you should eat for better oral health, and a few things that you should avoid which will damage your teeth and gums in the long run.
At Vero Implants & Periodontics, a dentist in Vero Beach, FL, we see patients all the time that need significant work done. Diet is one way to help the body fight future dental issues for superior dental health.
Why Certain Foods and Drinks Hurt Oral Health
The reason that certain types of food and drinks can damage your mouth over time is due to plaque build-up. Plaque is a film that clings to the teeth and gums, filled with bacteria, that breaks down the tooth enamel, causing tooth decay and periodontal disease. In general, foods that are more sugary or contain acidic ingredients are the worst for oral health. Here are some to avoid at all costs, or limit for rare occasions.
Hard or Sour Candies
One of the worst kinds of sweets for your teeth is hard or sour candies. This is especially true if, like most people, you crunch down on these hard candies and allow them to stick to your teeth. Plus, the acids in sour candy are even worse for your teeth. Try to avoid these.
Soda or Sugary Drinks
Carbonated soda is filled with sugars and acids that attach to the teeth. The bubbles even help the plaque on your teeth to produce even more acid that will damage the enamel. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a “diet” soda is better for your teeth. It’s still carbonated to cause the same problems in your mouth and can stain the teeth. Sugary drinks, like lemonade, sweetened teas, and juices will cause similar problems in the mouth just due to the high sugar content.
The starch in potato chips will turn into sugar on the teeth. When eating chips, the little bits and particles get trapped in the teeth and gumline. If you do have some chips, it’s important to brush and floss right after.
These may seem like healthy foods, but in reality, the little sticky bites from dried fruits can really attach to the teeth. Remember getting boxes of raisins as a kid? They leave behind sugars that are damaging to the tooth enamel with their stickiness, and are almost as bad as actual candy. It’s a better idea to eat fresh fruit.
The Kind of Diet That Helps Oral Health
There are foods that will benefit your oral health. That includes getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables. “Eat the rainbow” is the common refrain of nutritionists because it includes green vegetables, like broccoli, green beans, and spinach, bell peppers, and even some purple veggies, like eggplant and cabbage.
Having the right diet also involves getting enough omega-3 fatty acids that are in fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, and nuts. A diet rich in these nutrients can help to make sure the teeth are strong, and the gums are healthy enough to keep the teeth in place.
In the late stages of periodontal disease, you may need certain teeth removed and dental implants put in. Taking care of your teeth will help you avoid major dental issues like this. If you have questions about the foods and drinks you are consuming, contact us. We’re more than happy to give you some tips and advice on the right diet for better oral health.