Diet And Dental Health: How Do They Relate?
Many people are not conscious about their diet. Foods they purchase and take in everyday has a big factor in maintaining healthy body, healthy mind and healthy mouth and teeth. These things are greatly intertwined. One cannot be perfect without the other. As an example, one cannot have a healthy body without a healthy mouth.
Clearly, diet can affect dental health. The oral cavity is the first part of the body that is affected whenever you swallow food. The teeth and the gums are the most sensitive components of the mouth that can get affected.
The five major food groups
The five major food groups are the determinant of healthy diet. These are:
- Grains. The carbohydrates group. This is composed of oats, wheat, barley and rice. Some vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes and truffle are also included.
- Fruits and vegetables. These are the good source of vitamins and minerals. They are low in fat content and less in calories. Your teeth can also benefit from this because they are high in fiber which helps in sweeping away debris; hence less tooth decay..
- Milk and dairy. These are high in calcium and other minerals that make stronger teeth. If you are an adult, low fat milk is a good choice to eliminate excess saturated fat.
- Meat, poultry and fish. This is the main source of protein, iron and B12.
- Fats. Although fat is bad for your health, you still need a little of it to develop your hormones and some major parts of the brain. Moderation is the key. Try to choose the “healthy” fat which are in things like olive oil, nuts and fish to name a few. Healthy fats are monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s; “bad” or unhealthy fats are saturated and trans fats. Healthy fat plays a great role in managing your weight, your mood and fighting fatigue.
Eating whole meals with these food groups give you an advantage on keeping teeth and gums healthy, not to mention overall health. If you want to snack, snack on something from these food groups for healthier choices. Include probiotics in your diet. You can buy these at any health store.
Eating on highly-processed and low nutritional value food makes a low performing immune system. This can jeopardize your health. Thus, you are prone to several diseases like cardiovascular disorders and diabetes, as well as infections not just in the body but also in the mouth.
Diabetes, alone, is very bad for dental health. Because your blood becomes too viscous, the capillaries in your gums become swollen and tender. This could easily get irritated and bleed. Gum disease or gingivitis is one of the diseases that can occur due to diabetes and vice vesra due to increased blood sugar levels. Your salivary glands also function less. This would result in dry mouth that makes it harder for you to eat and speak as well as prone to dental caries. Less amount of saliva in the mouth means, less cleansing agent to wash away the food debris and bacteria.
Things to do to keep your mouth healthy
Here are few things you can try do to maintain good oral health.
- Drink lots of water. This washes away debris. Tap water from your faucet is fluoride fortified. This is better than distilled if you do not have overly sensitive stomach. Check your water because not all cities have “good ” tap water.
- Eat balanced diet. Prefer high-fiber food over processed ones.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush and floss once a day.
- See your dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleanings.
Diet is a big factor in keeping the mouth healthy. Nutritious food with less sugar can help in minimizing tartar and cavities. Keep your options always healthy and nutritious. Make a conscious decision to take care of your general health including your oral health.
By: Ladan Zinati