How Your Diet Affects Your Dental Health

CWD EditorOral Health

We all know that the foods we choose to eat impact the health of our bodies, purchase but fewer of us realize that our diet directly affects the health of our teeth as well. The minute you eat or drink certain foods, changes in your mouth begin to take place, for better or for worse. Certain foods impact your dental health positively, while some have an adverse effect. At Cottonwood Dental we’re invested in the longstanding health of your smile, so we’ll fill you in on the healthiest foods for your teeth.

Let’s start with the foods that are smart to avoid for your overall health, as well as your oral health. First and foremost, sugar. Sugars are the main culprit when it comes to tooth enamel erosion and tooth decay. Your teeth have a strong outer coating- that’s the enamel- but they can still erode over time, and have more of a tendency to do so if you eat a lot of sugar. Sugars we consume work with bacteria already present in the mouth to create acids that form plaque. Plaque builds up and contributes to tooth decay, cavities, and periodontal disease over time.

Another food that your dentist might find has caused you problems at your next dental exam is starch. Some starches are easily broken down by saliva, but others, when combined with sugars, increase the risk of tooth decay. Sweet baked goods, particularly sweet baked goods and sugary breakfast cereals are the main culprits of creating this kind of dental erosion. Less refined starches, however, like whole grains, can actually be good for your teeth because they require more chewing, and hence stimulate the increased production of saliva.

With all these foods and drinks to avoid, it’s hard to know what we actually should be consuming for bodily and dental health. A good place to start is increasing your intake of water, unless you’re already consuming the recommended eight cups a day. In addition to being good for overall health, water helps wash away food debris that can become trapped between teeth, and keeps saliva levels high- which are the body’s best defense against tooth decay. Additional vitamins and nutrients to improve dental health include Calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C.

Beyond diet, practice a daily routine of brushing and flossing, and visit Cottonwood Dental twice yearly for a cleaning and assessment. Ready to schedule an appointment? Book a dental exam online with Cottonwood Dental!