Dental Health and Your Diet

Young woman observing dental health and diet

We all know that delicious treats like cookies and cakes are chock-full of sugar (and totally delicious!), but did you know there is a “best” time to eat them? Many people don’t realize that the effects generated by the food they eat can continue on long after the time it is originally consumed. Eating a sweet treat with dinner will do less harm to your teeth than eating it as a separate snack. It is so much easier to prevent cavities when you understand how food actually affects your dental health.

Food Has an Instant Effect on Your Teeth!

Chemical actions being the exact moment you eat certain foods. The bacteria in your mouth creates acids, which is the beginning of the cavity-creating process. Foods that are considered to be in the carbohydrate family are broken down into the simple sugars glucose, fructose, maltose, and lactose. Some carbohydrates are fermentable and break down in the mouth, including most sugary foods, such as candy, cookies, cakes, soft drinks, syrups, bread, crackers, cereal, and fruits. These sugary snacks work directly with bacteria to form the acids that start the decaying process that leads to cavities. What’s even crazier is that healthy foods, such as prunes, raisins, and figs can cause more acid damage due to their stickiness.

The Role of Acids

Some of the acids formed by the bacteria and sugar work to dissolve the needed minerals inside of the tooth enamel. Once these acids are formed, they do their dirty work for half an hour, unless removed by brushing. Teeth can regain lost minerals through the use of mineral water, fresh vegetables, the fluoride in dental products and water supplies and even he saliva generated by your mouth. The two processes are referred to as Demineralization and Remineralization. When minerals are lost faster than they are replaced, tooth decay begins in the enamel. Foods that get trapped in the teeth can also cause tooth decay. The teeth are full of little hiding places for scraps of food, and they continue to do damage until they are removed. Molars are especially susceptible to cavities because they have many little spaces where food can be trapped.

Foods That Encourage Dental Health

Your body depends on good nutrition to maintain optimum health. Poor nutrition seriously affects the health of your mouth and teeth. Gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath can all be attributed to an improper diet. Including healthy nutritional choices in your diet is important for your teeth. The following foods are good for your dental health:

.   Whole grains, including whole wheat flour, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa

.   Dark green and orange vegetables

.   Fresh firm fruits

.   Legumes

.   Lean meat and fish

.   Water

You May Want to Avoid These Foods…As Much As Possible

Obviously, no one wants a diet completely free of desserts, an occasional candy bar, and a cold soft drink. The key words are “once in a while”. It’s crucial that we remember to eat such foods sparingly. Limit between-meal snacks to lessen the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acids. The following foods should only be eaten occasionally:

.   Cakes and cookies

.   Candy

.   Sweetened beverages, such as soda, juices, lemonade, and iced tea

.   Dried fruits and fruit leather

.   Potato chips, pretzels, crackers, and similar snacks

A nutritionally balanced diet is critical to maintaining good dental health. By adding a healthy diet to brushing, flossing, regular cleanings, and dental checkups, you significantly reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Request an appointment online at Eagle Rock Dental Care today to schedule an appointment for your child’s teeth!

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