Watch what you put in your mouth. The foods you eat affect whole-body health and weight issues, but they also impact your risk for develop gum disease, tooth decay, and sensitive teeth – and even oral cancer.
- Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults and has been linked to increased potential for heart attack, stroke, diabetes complications, and a list of health problems.
- Cavities ruin teeth. Also called dental caries, tooth decay is the second most common health disorder next to the common cold.
- Sensitive teeth are painful. It’s not surprising that people with sensitive teeth don’t brush regularly – because it hurts.
For a good smile, stay away from bad foods, and it won’t get ugly…
- Every day, brush twice, floss once, and rinse your mouth with water after meals. This will keep foods off your teeth. The longer food sits on teeth, the more likely you’ll be to develop cavities.
- Foods rich in calcium and phosphorus remineralize teeth to keep enamel strong. Some of these foods are meats, nuts, milk, and cheese.
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, carrots) are a better choice than citrusy foods (tomatoes, oranges, lemons). While apples contain a significant amount of natural sugar, they also have a lot of water. The water stimulates saliva flow, and the saliva dilutes the sugars. Citrusy and acidic fruits and veggies should be consumed with a meal, rather than as a snack, so that their acid is diluted.
- Chew sugarless gum! It removes food particles from teeth, increases saliva production (your mouth’s natural acid neutralizer), and has no sugar (obviously). The American Dental Association actually endorses some sugarless gums. If you can find a gum with xylitol, a sugar substitute, you’ll do your teeth even more of a favor. Xylitol reduces the potential for cavities.
- Drink fluoridated water (not bottled), milk, and unsweetened tea instead of sugary carbonated beverages. The polyphenols in green and black tea inhibit oral bacteria growth, so drink up! You’ll enjoy fresher breath and reduce the risk for cavities.
- Yellow-green fruits and veggies high in vitamins A, E, and C are great for warding off oral cancer (and they’re good for your eyes, too!). These include carrots, sweet potatoes, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, broccoli, mango, strawberries, raspberries, and cantaloupe. Nuts are high in vitamin E, as well.
- When you eat an unbalanced or unhealthy diet, your immune system weakens… People with a weak immune system are prone to developing periodontal disease.
- Sugars AND starches (carbohydrates, like crackers, bread, corn, and foods made from grains) cause cavities.
- Sticky and hard candies are horrible for teeth. HORRIBLE. They are pure sugar, and they cling to teeth creating a prime situation for cavity development.
- Modern energy drinks and sports drinks are loaded with sugar and are highly acidic. They cause cavities and acid erosion of tooth enamel, which leads to sensitivity.
- Bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride supplements like tap water. While there is controversy over fluoride, a little bit is very good for your oral health. Save some money and help your teeth by drinking tap water.
Basically, the ugly will be your state of oral health and overall health if you don’t watch what you eat, take care of yourself, and follow through with treatment when prescribed. My staff and I genuinely want all of our patients to enjoy a high quality of life and a strong, vibrant smile. We don’t judge. If your mouth isn’t all peaches and cream, we encourage you to take the first step toward changing your future.
Call our downtown Denver dental office today to schedule a visit with me, Dr. Gary Radz, and my compassionate dental team. We’ll answer all of your questions about diet and oral health, and we’ll make your transformation to optimal oral health rewarding and comfortable.