We all know the phrase “You are what you eat.” When it comes to oral health, there’s no exception. Depending on the foods you consume on a regular basis, you may be putting yourself at risk. Even worse, after you’ve damaged your teeth to the point of no return, your diet is narrowed to only certain foods your mouth can manage.
Your dentist in Sarasota knows this and wants to make it clear how your diet and oral health are forever connected. The better informed you are, the more incentive you’ll have to forgo foods you love to save your teeth in the long-term.
How Foods Interact with Your Mouth
Your diet has a huge effect on your oral health especially if you are younger with developing teeth. Foods that contain sugars contribute heavily to tooth decay and feed bacteria that creates plaque. Once this plaque builds up, it can become calculus, a much harder form of plaque that requires a professional to remove.
Additionally, if your diet lacks nutrients essential for healthy gums and teeth, your body will only have to work harder to stop bacteria. For example, an unbalanced diet forces your oral tissues to work harder when fighting infection. It will also allow disease to progress faster and become more severe if your diet is nutrient-poor. Once disease sets in, your teeth might even have to be removed entirely depending on the severity.
How Poor Oral Health Can Permanently Change Your Diet
People with no teeth are forced to change their diet to accommodate their condition. To start, eating foods that provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need may be impossible, as many of them require teeth to consume properly. This would include the hearty and crunchy fruits and vegetables that increase saliva production and keep teeth and gums strong.
Furthermore, losing your teeth forces you to consume foods that are softer, such as foods high in saturated fats. Much of this food carries no nutritional value and will only put more stress on your mouth. To avoid this scenario, you’ll need to stay informed on the foods to avoid as well as the ones that can protect you from gum disease and tooth decay.
Sugars and Starches: The Foods to Watch Out For
Two of the biggest culprits tied to poor oral hygiene are sugars and starches. As mentioned before, when you consume sugar, you provide bacteria in your mouth the food it needs to produce acid. That acid breaks down your tooth enamel and eventually causes tooth decay. Starch also does this however it easily gets caught in between teeth, making it more difficult to remove later.
Foods that carry these attributes should be avoided:
- Starchy and refined carbohydrates
- Sticky/chewy/hard foods
- Highly sweet foods
- Highly acidic foods
- Foods that cause dry mouth
In addition, a few foods that promote oral health include:
- Leafy Greens, Bell Peppers,
- Dairy and Cheese Products
- Fruits (non-acidic)
- Fish, Oysters and Sardines
- Almonds and legumes
Neglecting your diet only puts your oral health at risk. Learn more tips to improve your diet by scheduling an appointment with your Sarasota dentist today!
About the Author
Dr. C. Romesh Weerasooriya earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida and his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry four years later. His commitment to excellence is exemplified through over 1,000 hours of continuing education that helps him meet patients’ needs. To learn more about his practice, you contact him through his website.