Nutrition plays a key role in maintaining good oral health. We all know that nutrition affects our overall health, but did you know that the foods you eat can also impact the development and progression of oral diseases and conditions, such as tooth decay and gum disease? Living a healthy lifestyle, complete with balanced meals, can help you maintain a healthy smile. Learn more about how eating habits can affect oral health.
Good Nutrition – What Does It Consist of?
Nutrition refers to the physiological and biochemical processes in which we use food to support life. It includes several essential stages, including ingestion, digestion, absorption, transport, assimilation, and finally excretion. We all require nourishment to survive, but what this nourishment consists of has changed over the years.
In 1992, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Food Guide Pyramid. The diagram was shaped like a pyramid and recommended that a person should eat more foods from the bottom of the pyramid and fewer from the top. The USDA food pyramid included six food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat and beans, and oils and sweets.
Since the implementation of the original balanced health food pyramid for adults, nutritional guidelines and information have changed several times.
Today, the USDA recommends following MyPlate dietary guidelines. This guide is made up of five groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. However, the MyPlate model is personalized based on several different factors. These factors include age, gender, weight, height, and activity level, meaning nutrition is no longer clearly defined.
What we do know about good nutrition is that a balanced diet should contain certain nutrients. These include carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Getting the right amounts of these nutrients can help maintain good oral and overall health.
How Does Nutrition Affect Oral Health?
Tooth decay develops when teeth and other hard tissues in the mouth are destroyed from the acidic properties of some oral bacteria. Although poor eating habits are not always a direct cause of tooth decay or gum disease, improper nutrition can increase the rate at which these conditions worsen.
Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system and increases the risk of other disorders. People who have a weakened immune system are more likely to experience periodontal diseases. Eating a well-balanced diet can improve your oral health. Additionally, it can reduce your risk of developing associated conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
It is recommended that you eat a well-balanced diet that includes moderation and a variety of healthy foods. Develop healthy eating habits with guidance from trusted health organizations, such as the USDA, National Institutes of Health, and the American Dietetic Association. Select foods from all five food groups. Aim to meet the recommended number of vitamins and fiber in your diet.
Tips for Developing Better Eating Habits
The following help tips are designed to promote better eating habits for teeth and gums:
- Limit sweet treats – Sweets like candies, cookies, and cakes have long been linked to cavities. Enjoy sweets sparingly and always check labels. Many pre-packaged foods, such as cereals, tomato sauce, and fizzy drinks, contain large amounts of sugar.
- Focus on getting enough vitamins – Good oral health requires a variety of benefits. Most people associate good oral health with vitamin D but this isn’t the only vitamin you need. Also get sufficient calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and phosphorus.
- Avoid acidic foods – Acidic foods like coffee, alcoholic drinks, and potato chips, streamline the process of tooth decay. If you do eat these foods, consume them with a meal instead of on their own.
- Choose healthy foods – When you reach for a snack, ensure that you’re choosing nutritional options that will help, not harm, your teeth. Aged cheeses aid in saliva production, high-water fruits and vegetables help balance ingested sugars, and high-protein foods like meat and eggs are high in phosphorus.
Schedule a Dental Teeth Cleaning
One of the best things you can do for your smile is to visit your Melbourne, FL dentist every six months for a professional exam and cleaning. For more information about good eating habits for oral health or to schedule an appointment with our friendly experts, contact Artistic Touch Dentistry.