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Diet and Dental Health; Understanding the Link

August 9, 2021

Our mouth serves as a gateway to the entire body. Anything we eat or drink can have a direct influence on our oral and physical health. Moreover, the teeth, gums, and facial muscles work in unison to help us chew food properly and initiate the process of digestion that allows the digestive organs to convert it into energy.

According to the American Dental Association, a two-way relationship exists between your diet and oral health. Imagine what would happen if your oral cavity is diseased or if your teeth cannot chew properly? Naturally, your body’s ability to generate energy from food will be seriously affected. More importantly, eating a sugar and carbohydrate-rich diet can lead to various dental problems such as teeth cavities and periodontal disease.

How Does Diet Impacts your Oral Health?

Research has shown that individuals who frequently take a high-sugar diet are more likely to develop dental problems. A carbohydrate-rich diet promotes plaque and tartar deposition on teeth, providing nutrition and a safe haven for disease-causing bacteria. These bacteria utilize the sugars in the plaque and tartar and release metabolic products that acidify the local pH. This triggers a chain of reactions that results in the minerals moving out of the teeth into the saliva. As a result, the teeth become weaker and more prone to tooth decay.

At the same time, the harmful bacteria release toxins that attack the gums, jawbone, and periodontal tissues, causing periodontal disease. In its initial stages, periodontal disease appears in swollen, reddish, and tender gums that bleed easily while brushing and eating. If the condition is not treated promptly, the bacterial toxins start destroying the jawbone that supports and anchors our teeth. As a result, the teeth become mobile and ultimately fall off if treatment is not sought timely - requiring tooth replacement with dental implant Henderson.

Moreover, if your diet lacks essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D, and minerals like zinc, calcium, and fluoride, not only your teeth and bones become weak, but your body’s ability to fight oral and systemic infections will be seriously hampered - thereby having a direct influence on your dental health.

So, we can see that poor dietary choice can lead to a host of dental issues.

So, Which Foods are Good for My Oral Health?

The American Dental Association offers the following tips to ensure a tooth-friendly diet:

  • Drinking plenty of water and fluids - water is an excellent cleansing agent. It will clean your teeth and help prevent the formation of plaque tartar deposits. However, you should avoid fizzy drinks and alcoholic beverages as they contain high amounts of sugars and other ingredients that can harm your teeth.
  • Ensure a Balanced Diet - make sure to eat foods from all the major five food groups:
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and green vegetables - these foods will help in cleaning the teeth and removing the plaque deposits
  • Protein-rich foods such as lentils, beef, skinless poultry, fish, and dry beans
  • Low-fat foods

Another tooth-friendly habit is to limit the number of your daily snacks. If you need to eat snacks, prefer fruits and vegetables over fast foods. To learn more about which foods are best for you, you can head over to the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, MyPlate.

How Does Oral Health Affect Diet and Nutrition?

Would you be able to drive a car if it has a faulty engine component? The same happens when with poor oral health. If one has broken, chipped, crooked teeth, they will not break the food particles into smaller pieces - which is essential for the stomach and intestines to completely digest the food and generate energy that helps us carry out daily life activities.

Besides the teeth, if someone has underlying periodontal inflammation, they may feel pain on biting. As a result, many people with periodontal disease often do not chew properly to avoid pain, which puts a lot of pressure on the digestive system, leading to malnutrition, weakness, and lowered immunity.

If there is a problem with the jaw joints or the facial muscles that help open and close the mouth, it can affect the body’s ability to optimally chew food causing malnutrition. Hence, we can see that our oral health and diet affect each other. So, how can we ensure optimal oral health to keep ourselves healthy? The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers the following tips, in addition to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet:

  • Oral Hygiene Maintenance - by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day, you can prevent most dental problems that can affect your ability to chew and digest food properly. The American Dental Association recommends using fluoride toothpaste that contains the ADA’s seal of approval to keep your teeth strong, healthy, and more resistant to tooth decay.
  • Visit your Dentist Regularly - Densley Dental, your Henderson dentist, can diagnose dental problems in the initial stages - well before they affect your oral or physical health. So, visiting your dentist regularly for checkups is key to keeping yourself healthy and avoiding nutritional problems. Moreover, regular checkups also help avoid unexpected dental issues that necessitate visiting an emergency dentist Henderson.

Remember, good oral health is not just necessary for having pearly white teeth and a beautiful smile, but equally essential for your enjoying optimal overall physical health. At the same time, it is also vital that you eat a healthy and balanced, tooth-friendly diet that keeps your teeth and gums healthy so that what you eat can be fully assimilated and utilized to keep you healthy and fit. So, oral health and your dietary choices go hand in hand.

At Densley Dental, we are passionate about caring for our patients. If you or your family require dental care you can call us at (702) 212-6641 to schedule your appointment.⠀