The Health Advocate

 
by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

 
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Virtually everyone understands the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Still, the statistics show that approximately 92 percent of American adults have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth and just over one-quarter of the population has untreated tooth decay. What these numbers show is that, despite people’s best efforts, our overall level of oral health isn’t quite as good as it could or should be. Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can work to protect and improve your oral health that go beyond just brushing and flossing, such as focusing on your diet. The foods and drinks you consumer can also play a major part in determining how healthy your teeth and gums are. In light of this, here is a quick guide that helps to explain what type of diet is best for optimal oral health.

Focus on Eating a Healthy, Balanced Diet

In truth, there isn’t one specific diet that provides the best care for your teeth and gums. Instead, the biggest key is to try to eat a healthy balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. Consuming low-fat dairy is also essential since this ensures your body gets the calcium it needs to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Generally speaking, whatever type of diet is good for your body is also good for your teeth. Nonetheless, a dentist may still recommend eating or staying away from particular foods based on your specific level of oral health. In this sense, it is always a good idea to speak with your dentist about good and bad food choices since they will be able to give you more in-depth, personalized recommendations.

Avoid Sugary Foods

Although there are many different types of diets that help to protect your oral health, the biggest key comes down to avoiding specific foods and drinks as much as possible. Sugary foods and snacks are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to tooth decay, which means you really need to try to limit your consumption. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sugary things on occasion. Still, when you do enjoy them, it is best to do so at mealtime as meals cause your mouth to produce extra saliva that helps to wash away the sugars.

Watch out for Low PH

Foods that are high in acid are another big culprit in terms of cavities and tooth decay. Coffee not only stains your teeth, but it also contains acid that can eat away at your tooth enamel. The same goes for the acid in fizzy drinks, and the problems are only made worse when those fizzy drinks also contain high amounts of sugar. Basically, you should try to limit your consumption of anything with a pH under 5.5, which includes beer, wine, fruit juices, vinegar and pickles.

Limit In-Between Meal Snacking

As previously stated, your body produces much more saliva when you sit down to eat a full meal as this helps to aid in digestion. However, the same effect doesn’t necessarily happen when you snack in between meals. Due to this lower level of saliva, your snacks or sugary drinks don’t get washed away nearly as well, which means they can end up stuck to your teeth and allowed more time to do their damage. Therefore, it is best to avoid snacking in between meals as much as possible. If you do feel the need to snack, make sure to choose heathier options that are low in sugar and have a higher pH, such as vegetables or cheese.

Ultimately, protecting your teeth is all about being diligent. It’s not simply enough to brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Instead, you are far better off taking a big-picture approach to your oral health that involves focusing on all of the important factors, including your diet.




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