“You are what you eat.” How often did you hear that phrase growing up? Of course, if we eat enough pizza we don’t actually turn into a walking, talking slice of pepperoni. However, the food and drinks we consume do directly affect our health – including our dental health. Poor dietary habits can increase the risk of tooth decay or gum disease, leading to painful dental problems that require expensive and inconvenient treatment. On the other hand, making the right dietary choices can help preserve teeth as you grow older. If you are interested in maintaining your healthy smile, check out these dietary tips from a dentist in North Dallas.
Foods and Drinks to Keep Away from Your Teeth
Many people joke about having a “sweet tooth,” but too much sugar can be harmful to your teeth. Here are some foods and drinks to avoid if you want to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease:
- Candies and Sugary Sweets – Bacteria in your mouth feeds on sugar from candies and other sweets to produce acids that eat through the enamel of teeth and cause tooth decay.
- Carbohydrates and Starches – The mouth breaks down bread and other carbohydrates and starches into simple sugars, which feed the harmful bacteria in your mouth.
- Carbonated or Sugary Soft Drinks – Not only do soft drinks contain high levels of sugar, but the syrups used for coloring and flavor can stain your tooth enamel, while the carbonation can wear down the tooth enamel over time and make your teeth more sensitive susceptible to tooth decay.
Foods that will Boost Your Oral Health
Fiber-rich fruit and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help stimulate saliva production in your mouth, which provides a natural defense against cavities and decay. Saliva also naturally cleans the mouth and helps naturalize acids after eating a meal.
In addition to eating plenty of fruits and veggies, incorporating a healthy amount of dairy into your diet can really benefit your teeth. That is because dairy products like milk and yogurt are a great source of calcium, phosphates and vitamin D. Teeth are made of calcium, so eating food with high levels of calcium will help strengthen the bone and rebuild the tooth’s enamel.
Why Good Oral Hygiene Is Still Key
Even if you are mindful about the foods and drinks you consume, practicing good oral hygiene on a daily basis is still key to maintaining a healthy and whole smile. To help avoid cavities and gum disease, be sure to follow these basic oral hygiene tips:
- Brush twice daily for a full two minutes each time
- Floss at least once a day
- Visit a dentist every six months for a routine exam and cleaning
We may not be exactly what we eat, but our dietary habits do have a big impact on our dental and overall health. So, the next time you open the refrigerator or the pantry, don’t forget that whatever you choose from the shelf will affect not only your waistline – but your teeth as well!
About the Author
A proud graduate of the Baylor College of Dentistry, Dr. Dale Greer has been helping individuals in Dallas achieve and maintain healthy, happy smiles for over 40 years by providing a wide array of dental care services. Dr. Greer’s excellence and passion for this profession have been recognized by his peers, who recently voted him as “One of the Best Dentists in Dallas” in D Magazine. Patients old and new can contact Dr. Greer via his website or by calling the office at 972-233-4546.