Balanced Diet

Good Nutrition for Healthy Teeth and Gums

A balanced diet is necessary for a healthy mouth.

You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization, tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet.

Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria.

How Poor Nutrition Leads to Periodontal Disease

Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.

Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

So, eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve your dental health, but increasing fiber and vitamin intake may also reduce the risk of other diseases.

Balanced Diet for Oral Health

It’s important that you consume a balanced diet for optimal oral health. You should eat a variety of foods, avoid fad diets and drink a lot of water.

Eat Variety of Foods

Eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Develop eating habits that follow the recommendations from reputable health organizations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Institutes of Health.

It’s important that you choose foods from the major food groups: fruits, vegetables, bread and whole grains, milk and dairy products, beans and legumes, meat, chicken, and fish.

Get Enough Vitamin D

Most people do not get sufficient Vitamin D from their diets and should get some sun exposure to produce Vitamin D in their bodies. Depending on the darkness of your skin, you need an average of 10-30 minutes of daily sun exposure without sunscreen.

Consume all Necessary Nutrients

Those who follow special restricted diets should be especially careful to get all necessary nutrients. Vegans who do not consume any food of animal origin can experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or complete proteins. Studies show that by eating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, they can get the nutrients they need.

Avoid Fad Diets

Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

If your teeth have started showing signs of decay, it’s important that you take action NOW. Start eating a healthy diet and include cheese, milk, chicken, and other meats in your diet. They can remineralize your teeth and protect tooth enamel.

Drink Lots of Water

Always keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth, supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva. Sugarless products with xylitol can help prevent cavities.

Be Careful When Choosing Snacks

Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. So, when you snack, avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy, and dried fruits. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, and sugarless gum or candy.

Eat cookies and other Fermentable Carbohydrates in Combination with Other Foods

When you eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers, cookies, and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay. For example, enjoy cheese with your crackers. Your snack will be just as satisfying and better for your dental health.

Don’t Overeat

Don’t overeat and limit snacking between meals. Each time you eat, you create an environment for oral bacteria to develop. Additionally, studies are showing that dental disease is just as related to overeating as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. So, eating too much of just about anything, too frequently, should be avoided.

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