Eating a healthy and nutritious diet is important for your overall health. Eating well gives your body the nutrients it needs to be healthy and strong. However, nutrition also has an impact on your oral health. As March is Nutrition Month, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to explain how nutrition and oral health are connected.
Nutrition and oral health: what is the link?
On top of lifestyle choices and environmental factors, what we eat impacts our health. A nutritious diet can help your body fight off disease and illness. The food you eat supplies the nutrients you need for a healthy body, bones, teeth and gums. As such, nutrition and oral health do in fact go hand-in-hand. Proper nutrition will help prevent and fight illness, including periodontal (gum) disease.
In terms of nutrition and oral health, what you eat comes into contact with the germs and bacteria in your mouth. For example, foods high in sugar or starch should be avoided. The sugar or starch in these foods reacts with the plaque in your mouth and attacks tooth enamel. Furthermore, without the right nutrients, your teeth and gums may be more prone to decay and gum disease.
Sugar: enemy #1 for your teeth
According to the Canadian Dental Association, the average Canadian eats close to 40 kg of sugar every year! In fact, sugar is one of the most common causes of dental problems. After all, how many times have you heard that sugary foods will make your teeth rot? The real problem is that sugar is found in so many foods. Even milk contains some. And the plaque in your mouth just loves it! Sugar and plaque react with each other, forming an acid in your mouth that attacks tooth enamel. This can eventually lead to tooth decay.
Thus, to maintain proper nutrition and oral health, you should try to cut down on foods that are high in sugar. Eating a well-balanced diet is important. A few ways to cut down on sugar and keep teeth healthy include:
- Eating snacks like nuts, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, cheese and other low-sugar foods;
- Reducing the amount of sugar in your coffee or tea;
- Avoiding soft drinks and other sweet drinks;
- Drinking water between meals;
- Shopping smart by reading ingredients on food labels and avoiding foods with high sugar content;
- Avoiding sticky sweets as they cling to the teeth;
- Eating sweets with meals as the increased flow of saliva during meals helps protect teeth by washing away sugar;
- Practising good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly;
- Scheduling regular dental check-ups and cleaning.
Proper nutrition and oral health should be taught early
If you are a parent or caring for a child, teach them about good nutrition and oral health early on. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, avoiding foods high in sugar and starch, and good oral hygiene are key. These will all contribute to your children developing decay-resistant teeth and healthy gums. Additionally, children should learn proper brushing and flossing techniques. And most important, make sure to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
As you can see, nutrition and oral health are connected. What you eat will have an impact on your overall health and the health of your teeth and gums. Consult your dentist to learn more about nutrition and oral health. Make an appointment at Clinique dentaire Fortin Poirier today.