Healthy Nutrition & Your Oral Health

Winter is the worst time of the year for making poor nutrition decisions because people tend to indulge in sweets and leave the house less to pick up fresh and healthy food alternatives due to freezing temperatures and road conditions.   A balanced and nutritious diet is good for your general health and your oral health. Without the right nutrients, your teeth and gums can become more susceptible to decay and gum disease.

Poor Nutrition can lead to (dental caries, periodontal disease, and dental erosion):

Dental caries (cavities) are the most common dental disease that can cause cavity or non-cavity lesions to form.  Dental tissues are demineralized largely due to carbohydrate consumption causing a PH drop.  Therefore a heavy carbohydrate diet can cause acidic damage to tooth biofilm.  Additionally, there is also evidence to support that higher levels of vitamin D can reduce the risk of dental caries in children due to its ability to regulate calcium.

Periodontal disease is inflammation of the periodontal tissues leading to alveolar bone loss and gingiva caused by specific microorganisms in dental plaque.  Although the research isn’t as clear as with dental caries it’s important to watch your intake of dangerous micronutrients and microorganisms.

Proper nutrition is a huge factor in preventing dental erosion which is an irreversible loss of dental tissue.  The high PH levels of foods are less acidic and are better when choosing foods or beverages unless they contain calcium like yogurt which is an important nutrient to prevent tooth erosion.  However, in a meta-analysis conducted by the ADA soft drinks and chewable tablets were associated with erosive teeth while juice, milk, and yogurt were not.  So although other intrinsic factors may cause teeth erosion like (GERD or stomach acid) that we cannot control, we can all control what we eat.

The average Canadian eats 40KG of sugar per year, how to cut that down:

If reading that gave you a cavity you may be interested in how you can cut that amount down by choosing sugar-free snacks, using sugar substitutes in coffee or tea, reading the ingredients list on product labels, avoiding sticky sweets, and carrying a travel-sized toothbrush, mouthwash or at least rinsing the acid out of your teeth with water.

Focus on maximizing your water Intake

What we drink can be as bad for our teeth as what we eat or perhaps even worse for us because sugary drinks don’t fill us up and have high concentrations of sugars, sodium, and saturated fat.  Getting in the habit of comparing nutrition facts on drinks just like food products is important because although drinks don’t get stuck in between your teeth like food can they can lead to tooth decay.  Water is also vital to our general health, Scientific evidence supports the positive health impact of fluoridated drinking water as a solution for preventing tooth decay.

Strategies to Improve your nutrition habits and your oral health

  • Limit the sugary or teeth staining drinks available at home (red wine, pop, tea, juices)
  • Drink more water, carry a water bottle around when you go out, you can even add flavour to your water-using (herbs, fruit, berries, cucumbers for different tastes)
  • Eat snacks that won’t harm your teeth like salads, nuts, seeds, fruits, raw vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, cheese, and milk

Conclusion (proper nutrition leads to happy teeth):

The quality of the foods we eat plays a massive role in maintaining strong gums and bones in our mouths.  Just like nutrition is critically important to maintaining a strong and healthy body we must not forget that our mouths are a living part of our body and eating the wrong things can lead to painful dental diseases.

If you’d like to contact our dental clinic in London Ontario you can do so through our Request An Appointment form, by emailing us at Info@sbenatidentistry.ca, or by giving us a call at (519)-474-0220.

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