A healthy and balanced diet will provide the nutrients you need to help your body function. Not only will you lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes, but you will be able to have healthier teeth and gums. If you eat or drink sugary foods and liquids and do not regularly brush and floss, you may run a higher risk of tooth decay, periodontal disease and eventual tooth loss. Making healthy food choices will help you maintain a healthy body and smile.
Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums. Many dentists are concerned that their patients are consuming record numbers of sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snacks that affect their teeth. These items generally have little if any nutritional value and over time they can take a toll on your teeth.
Eating patterns and food choices among children and teens are important factors that affect how quickly youngsters may develop tooth decay. When bacteria (plaque) come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay.
If you are not sure you’re getting the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed by your body including your teeth and gums. Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Website. The USDA oversees the nutritional health of the nation. The agency’s dietary recommendations are designed to promote optimal health and to prevent obesity-related diseases including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
The government’s recommendations recognize that people have different dietary needs at various stages of life. They offer guidance for children and adults based on their levels of physical activity. Your physician or a registered dietician can also provide suggestions for your daily food intake.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. Almost all foods, including fruit, vegetables and dairy products, have some type of sugar. However, they shouldn’t be removed from our diets because many of them contain important nutrients and add to the pleasure of eating. To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Added sugars often are present in soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries.
If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection. This may contribute to periodontal (gum) disease, a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Although poor nutrition does not cause periodontal disease directly, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and could be more severe in people with nutrient-poor diets.
What can you do?
• Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
• Make sure water is readily available for healthy drinking, especially between meals.
• Limit the number of between-meal snacks. When you must snack, choose nutritious foods that are low in sugar.
• Brush thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
• Floss or use another kind of intra-oral dental cleaner daily to remove plaque (a thin film of bacteria) from under the gums and between teeth.
• Schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings with your dental provider.
Diet & Pregnancy
Pregnancy and the first year of a baby’s life are very special and important times. You will want to take good care of yourself and get your baby off to a healthy start. Oral health is an important part of your health and will also benefit the health of your unborn child.
Be sure to ask Dr. Chester about your oral health care before your baby arrives and after you baby is born. If you are thinking of getting pregnant, it is a good time to take care of any oral health needs before you get pregnant because pregnancy may affect your gums due to hormone changes.
We also encourage parents to begin oral care early with a good healthy diet and consistent oral health care. Set a good example for your child by scheduling regular dental exams and letting your children know how important oral health care is for their overall health