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How Nutrition Affects Your Teeth

March is National Nutrition Month, and we thought we’d share some nutritional tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy and strong.  A poor diet is often first identified by unhealthy teeth. Your mouth plays an essential role in the digestion process, and is strongly connected to your overall health. Besides the connections between heart health and gum health, your teeth are vitally important to keeping your body nourished.  People with 25 or more of their teeth tend to eat more nutritiously.

Drink Lots of Water

Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated, but also rinses away all the sugars and germs that can cause cavities. It also prevents dry mouth, which is ideal for bacterial growth and can contribute to halitosis. If dry mouth persists it can lead to more serious complications like cavities, gingivitis, and infections.

Limit Eating and Drinking Between Meals

Snacking happens, but the problem is most people snack on potato chips and sugary foods that can lead to dental problems down the road.  Your mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva when snacking as it does when you eat a big meal, which causes sugars to hang around in your mouth a lot longer than they normally would. People are also a lot less likely to brush their teeth after snacking, leaving food particles between your teeth.

Limit Acidic and Sugary Foods

Acidic foods like wine, orange juice, and carbonated beverages can wear away enamel, which causes sensitivity, discoloration, and cracked teeth. Enamel doesn’t repair itself, so it’s imperative to keep it strong.

Cavity-causing bacteria love to snack on sugar even more than you do. Eating copious amounts of sugar gives you a higher risk of dental problems down the road.

Eat Crispy Fruit and Raw Vegetables Teeth-and-apple/b>

Think about when you bite into an apple and see the striations your teeth make in the core. It’s actually cleaning your teeth while you eat! Eating crunchy foods with high water content can help scrape away plaque and provide a saliva bath to freshen your breath.

Drink Green Tea

Green tea fights bacterial infection, controls inflammation, lowers the acidity of your mouth, and gives you better breath. All of this helps prevent gum disease, reduces the chance for cavities, and has even been shown to slow the progression of oral cancer in some tests.

Your oral health and overall health are inextricably tied. Having healthy teeth and a healthy body go hand in hand.  Eating a healthy diet combined with regular visits to Kristen Ritzau, DDS can help maintain your oral health.