As most people are already aware, having a poor diet can increase risk of gum disease. When we consume too many sugary sodas, candy, fruit drinks and non-nutritious snacks, it can increase the risk of tooth decay. This is because too many carbohydrates and excessive sugar will increase production of plaque that will break down tooth enamel. Basically, when bacteria come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth and this is will eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities.
Instead, watching your nutrition closely and consuming a well-balanced diet helps to make sure your body, and teeth, maintain health and wellness. That’s why, we recommend choosing a variety of nutritious foods like raw vegetables, yogurt, fruit, cheese, complete protein sources and whole grains. Another helpful tip is to read food labels. Here we can easily check for foods that are high in added sugars and try to only eat these in moderation.
So, to achieve the very best diet for healthy teeth, we also recommend:
- Reducing sugary drinks: Things like juice, soda, punch should be served rarely as they have little nutritional benefit and are stacked with sugar.
- Choosing whole foods, fruits and vegetables: Not only do they contain nutrients that will protect your gums, but crunchy fruits and vegetables can help clean plaque from teeth too. Also, whole foods are minimally processed, and provide vitamins and nutrients critical to oral health. As opposed to snacks like crackers and chips – which break down into sugar and get stuck on teeth for longer periods of time.
- Limiting unhealthy fast-food options as they often contain excessive amounts of added sugar.
- Watching out for sticky snacks. Candy, fruit roll ups, dried fruit (like raisins) contain high amounts of sugar and are often some of the worst offenders for growing bacteria. This is because sticky foods can creep into tiny crevices near the gums. And because they are harder to remove, the sugar stays on teeth longer and exposes more harm.
On the other hand, here are some diets to be careful with:
- Restrictive diets: Extreme diets, where you cut out certain foods or food groups (can interfere with vitamin absorption and can weaken your teeth. If your eating habits continually lack certain nutrients, it actually becomes increasingly difficult for your mouth to resist infection. This can contribute to gum disease, tooth loss and possibly cause the disease to progress more rapidly.
- Low fat diets: When consuming low fats for a long period of time, you can start disrupting the absorption of Vitamin A, D, E and K. This will also impair the absorption of calcium, which can weaken your teeth and bones.
- Low carb diets: With low carb or no carb diets (like keto), your breath can start to smell like acetone, which is a sign that your body is using fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
- Low calorie: On a severely, prolonged low-calorie diet, your body becomes deprived of minerals and vitamins. Missing out on these necessary nutrients can soften your enamel, weaken your jaw bone and make your gums more vulnerable to gum disease.
So, before you start a new diet, or continue on with the one you are on now, it’s important to take into consideration how it will affect your oral health. It may not seem like it, but depriving your body of needed nutrients can be detrimental to your future health. Instead, a balanced diet, rich in nutrients is always recommended to ensure proper health and overall wellness.
If you need more information, a good place to start is by scheduling a visit with your dentist. And if you haven’t signed up for a Dental Select plan yet, take a look at our current offerings here.