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The Role Nutrition Plays in Dental Health

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Dental health is not only important in terms of how your mouth functions on a daily basis, as it also plays a role in the general health of your body. And yet it is an area where many people continue to put their health under unnecessary strain.

This is often due to poor standards of oral hygiene, but also because we eat and drink the wrong things when it comes to diet and oral health. Good nutrition will not only help you to keep your weight in control and your body supplied with energy, it will also help to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.

Why is Nutrition Important for Dental Health?

When you eat or drink something, you are putting your teeth under strain. This is because many of the foodstuffs we consume contain sugars that react with the bacteria in our mouths to produce harmful acids. In moderation and when oral hygiene is properly maintained, consuming sugar foodstuffs is by no means a bad thing – but it is important to be aware of how much sugar you consume and to understand the importance of good oral hygiene.

This is because the acids in your mouth can wear away tooth enamel, which is the protective layer covering your teeth. This process, otherwise known as dental erosion, can lead to sensitivity and be detrimental to the function and appearance of your teeth.

Foods to Avoid

Most anything is bad for you if you have too much of it, so the following list of foods should not necessarily be seen as a list of foods you must always avoid. Instead, it should be seen as a list of foods that you should take care to moderate your consumption, in order to promote good levels of dental health:

  • Dried fruit: These contain natural sugars which can lead to tooth decay.
  • Sports and soda drinks: The consumption of sports, soda and energy drinks continues, despite the fact that they can weaken tooth enamel and contain a lot of sugar.
  • Fruit juices: You may think that your morning glass of fruit juice is a healthy option, and it is to a certain degree, but be aware that even natural fruits contain a lot of sugar.
  • Starchy foods: Foods like potatoes, crisps, pizza and other starchy foods often leave bits of food stuck between the teeth. This is when the sugars within these foods can start to harm your dental health.
  • Dark coloured foodstuffs: Tea, coffee and red wine, among other darkly coloured foods and drinks, may not harm the health of your teeth, but they can lead to discolouration and poor smile aesthetics.

The list is exhaustive so we’ll end it there, but please remember that this should not necessarily be seen as a list of foods you must avoid, more so foods that you should limit your intake.

Foods to Promote Dental Health

Thankfully, there are foods that are known to aid the promotion of dental health, but even then you need to moderate your intake. These foods include:

  • Water: This is a bit of an obvious one as water has many health benefits, but it does help to promote good dental health.
  • Dairy products: Milk, cheese and other dairy are known to contain good vitamins and minerals such as calcium.
  • Green tea: Green tea contains polyphenol which aids in supressing bacteria within the mouth and also helps to fight plaque build-up.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Yes, fruit is in both lists, and isn’t that just typical! Fruits and vegetables are good for your teeth, in particular cucumbers, watermelons and strawberries, but you need to moderate your intake of fruits.
  • Nuts: Nuts are one of those foods that have many health benefits due to the levels of vitamins, minerals and zinc they contain. So give some almonds, cashews and walnuts a try today.

Once again, there are many other foods that are good for your teeth and gums, but the list could go on and on. What you should realise, though, is that most foods and drinks are not absolutely bad for your dental health – but this is only the case if you maintain good oral hygiene and moderate your diet.

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