You’ve probably heard that consuming too much sugar can cause tooth decay. You may have also heard that acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomato products can eat away at your teeth. However, these are not the only effects of diet on your smile. A poor diet consisting of starches, sugars, and carbohydrates can contribute to a wide range of oral health problems. Problems such as tooth loss, gum disease, and cavities are all issues that can arise.
Tooth decay is one of the most common consequences of a poor diet. Sugars and carbohydrates from foods like soft drinks, cookies, candies, and cakes, can contribute to cavities. When sugars and carbs from the food you eat combine with bacteria in the mouth, it creates harmful acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Over time, cavities can form that cause tooth sensitivity, bad breath, and other oral health problems.
Eating foods high in phosphorus and calcium can help re-mineralize teeth in the early stages of tooth decay. Reducing the amount of sugars and carbohydrates in your diet can help prevent further instances of tooth decay.
Foods and beverages that are highly acidic like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, can be harsh on teeth and oral tissues. Acidity can wear away the enamel that protects your teeth, a process known as erosion. If you continue consuming acidic foods and beverages, erosion can worsen, increasing your risk of cavities. Erosion can also cause physical changes to the teeth, such as a yellowish discoloration.
Tooth erosion can cause a person to feel tooth sensitivity when consuming cold, hot, or sweet beverages. In extreme cases, severe erosion can contribute to the development of an abscess or even tooth loss.
If you plan on consuming acidic foods or drinks, limit the amount. Also, wait an hour before brushing after consuming acidic foods. This will allow ample time for your saliva to naturally wash away acids and help re-harden your enamel.
Sugars, carbs, and acidic foods are not the only culprits known to cause poor dental health. Starchy foods can also contribute to tooth decay and damage to gums, teeth, and bones. Bread, potatoes, white rice, pasta, and other high-starch foods enter the mouth and combine with bacteria to create a sticky plaque that coats the teeth. The combination also produces harsh acids that continue attacking the teeth for up to 20 minutes after you have finished eating.
Some starchy snacks, such as crackers and chips, are known to break down into sticky particles that easily become wedged between teeth. As these particles are more difficult to remove, they have more time to produce acids and attack teeth.
It is important to brush and floss after eating a meal or snack high in starch. You should also limit the amount of starchy foods you eat and instead, choose healthier options like fresh fruit, vegetables, lean sources of protein, and low-fat dairy.
The beverages you drink each day can have a direct impact on the appearance of your teeth. Certain drinks, such as tea, coffee, and red wine are likely to stain your teeth. This is because these types of beverages contain color pigments known as chromogens. The chromogens adhere to tooth enamel, leaving behind unsightly stains.
While some beverages can cause staining, you don’t necessarily need to steer clear of all pigmented drinks. It is still possible to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or the occasional glass of wine. However, it is important to drink plenty of water to help wash away these pigments before they attach to your teeth.
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There is a direct relationship between diet and the health of your smile. Maintaining a nutritious diet low in sugars, carbs, starches, and acidic foods and drinks can help keep your smile healthy and beautiful. It is also important to visit your Melbourne, Florida dentist at least every six months for a dental teeth cleaning and thorough examination.
For more information about how diet impacts your teeth or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Melbourne, FL dentist, contact the dental professionals at Artistic Touch Dentistry.