When it comes to good health, our daily habits can really make a huge difference. The same holds true for our oral health. To enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, start with the foods you eat. The everyday choices of what we eat and drink can help us to prevent cavities and reduce our risk of developing gum disease.
One of the biggest culprits in the American diet is sugar. Studies conducted over the past several years have found that consuming too much sugar wreaks havoc with your overall health. The same holds true for your teeth and gums. Consuming foods and drinks that are high in sugar feed bacteria that grows inside your mouth. That bacteria can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. So try to stay away from sugary sodas and foods like candy, pastries and cookies. If you do occasionally indulge in a sugary snack, rinse your mouth out with water immediately afterwards to help eliminate any sugar that may be left behind inside your mouth – sugar that can feed harmful bacteria.
Just as a balanced diet is good for your overall health, it’s also necessary to maintain healthy teeth and gums. If you don’t get vital nutrients in your everyday diet, it can make it more difficult to fight off gum disease. A balanced diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.
Remember that your teeth are not indestructible, so try to avoid eating anything that’s too hard or sticky. Chewing ice, for example, can damage teeth and dental restorations. Sticky or chewy foods can also cause harm to your teeth, and considering that many of these types of food also contain sugar – foods like candy and some baked goods, for example – they can result in even more damage to your teeth and gums. If you crave something chewy, try sugarless gum. Researchers have found that chewing sugarless gum increases the amount of saliva that is produced inside your mouth, and that saliva helps to wash away harmful bacteria.
In addition to brushing and flossing each day, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis, the small everyday choices we make in our lives truly have a big impact on our oral health. And because a person’s overall health is integrally connected to oral health, making smart choices in the kinds of foods and drinks you consume each day can have a lasting positive effect in every way possible.