March 9, 2019
Oftentimes, we don’t think about what we’re eating and how it affects our oral health. We may think, “Oh, this cake is going straight to my hips,” but probably not, “Oh, all that sugar is going to wreak havoc on my teeth and gums.” Since it’s National Nutrition Month, there’s no better time to learn how your eating patterns and food choices affect your oral health.
How Does Nutrition Affect My Oral Health?
You can bet that if your doctor is telling you to make wiser food choices, your dentist is going to tell you the same thing. You know that too much junk food, sugar, carbs, fat, and sodium can cause serious problems for your overall health. While you may hear that and correlate “overall health” with things like diabetes, heart disease, or stroke, you need to incorporate gum disease and tooth decay as well.
When you eat too many carbohydrates, sugars, and starches, there is a better chance of plaque attacking your tooth enamel. When these acids break down enough of the enamel, the result is a cavity. Foods with too much sugar can cause tooth decay, but sugar is an essential part of any diet. The key is learning moderation and eating a nutritious diet. If your body lacks necessary nutrients, it can make it more difficult for your mouth to resist infection, potentially leading to severe gum disease and tooth loss.
What Are Some Good Food Choices?
Making wise decisions when it comes to the foods and drinks you consume can make a huge difference in your teeth and gums. Some healthy options to consider include:
- Whole grains
- Lean protein (fish, skinless poultry, dry beans, lean beef)
- Low-fat and fat-free dairy
What Are Some Bad Food Choices?
When we’re talking about the lifelong health of your teeth and gums, you’ll need to think long and hard before taking a bite or drink of any of the following items. While you don’t have to completely give them up, remember, it’s about moderation. If you choose to divulge in these items, make sure it’s few and you have a toothbrush ready to go once you’re done.
- Too much citrus
- Dried fruit and trail mix
- Sports drinks
Remember to limit the number of snacks you eat between meals. If you simply can’t resist a snack, choose a healthy option like raw vegetables, cheese, plain yogurt, or a piece of fruit. Not only will your body benefit from wiser food choices, but your oral health will too.
About the Practice
Dr. Maegan Elam, DDS, earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Hardin-Simmons University before going on to receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery from The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Dr. Elam is dedicated to meeting each patient’s needs, and she always looks forward to partnering with her patients to create an oral health care plan that gives them a healthy, beautiful smile. To learn more about Dr. Elam, contact us at (817) 283-2871.
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