A conversation with your dentist will enlighten many patients that brushing and flossing are critical to maintaining excellent oral health; but there’s much more involved to enjoy healthy teeth and gums for your lifetime.
Teeth serve us in many ways … they help us to form sounds correctly; teeth are needed to chew; and a beautiful smile contributes to self-confidence and feeling great about appearance.
So what role does proper nutrition play?
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are not always available; thankfully today we have easy access to frozen nutritious choices and they are as healthy as fresh. Many fruits can satisfy a sweet tooth with a more healthy option than a sugar laden snack. Vegetables offer many of the vitamins and minerals naturally that promote good health.
- Staying hydrated is important to the body, but beverages can help to keep the mouth flushed from bacteria that contributes to plaque build-up. However, what we drink makes a huge difference. Tap water in most communities contains fluoride and is probably the healthiest beverage available (and is economical too).
- Reducing sugar consumption is a wonderful way to improve your dental health … and sugar is not just in sweets like candy, cookies, and ice cream. The sugar contained in “healthy” foods like yogurt, cereals, and many beverages touted as being nutritious counts just as much as the sugar in sweets.
- Teeth can become stained with the consumption of many foods and beverages. To keep teeth their brightest, limit beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, and cola. Colorful foods like tomato sauce, beets, and many berries have the ability to stain dental enamel. If you know you are going to consume these items (and many of them are good for you), plan on rinsing or brushing as soon after eating/drinking that you can.
- A well balanced diet will help promote the ability to sleep sufficiently, which will also contribute to your oral health. Just remember, the reverse is true as well. Too much caffeine, sugar, or fat in the daily diet can keep us awake at night.
Understanding the role nutrition plays in oral health starts with young children. Your dentist can help with that education process, so take advantage of the time spent in your dental office every six months to learn how nutrition can impact your dental health. To learn more, call our office at 972-264-5795.