As long as you brush your teeth, the foods you eat shouldn’t matter that much for your oral health, right? Wrong. Everything you put in your mouth affects your dental health. Your teeth and gums are housed in the gateway to the rest of your body, and the foods and beverages you take in will impact just how healthy your mouth remains. You might eat a lot of sugar then scrub it off immediately, which is a good move for cavity prevention, but this effort doesn’t protect you completely from negative side effects.

What you eat affects your oral health, and research has shown that there are links between oral health and overall health problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A well-balanced diet is not only good for your well-being and your immunity to a litany of afflictions, it also limits your likelihood of developing gum disease, tooth decay, or other oral health problems. Be proactive about your dental care and oral health >>

As you go about your three meals every day, keep the following in mind:

  • Rely on water. The finest beverage for your oral health is water. It keeps your mouth moist, accompanying the saliva that should naturally be present, which protects your oral tissues from bacteria, acids, and, ultimately, decay. If you hydrate constantly but still battle chronic dry mouth, it’s time to see your dentist – this could be a sign of periodontal disease or a saliva imbalance.
  • Make smart choices. Snacks are what help many people get through the day, so when you can’t give up noshing between meals entirely, make the healthiest choices you can – opt for nuts, cheese, or raw vegetables. If you must have a sweet snack, go for chocolate instead of hard or sugary candies. Chocolate is more easily washed away from your teeth by saliva or water.
  • Curb the sipping. If you have a coffee, soda, or energy drink habit from morning to night, you might be helping yourself stay awake and giving yourself a jolt to keep moving, but your teeth are taking some serious abuse. Essentially, you’re bathing your tooth enamel in a constant acid bath, and if this doesn’t cause cavities (which it’s likely to do eventually), the regular drinking of these beverages will stain your teeth. Even herbal teas and black tea can turn your white enamel dingy – in fact, a study in The European Journal of Dentistry found that tea is one of the biggest creators of tooth stains.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Fad diets may promise miraculous weight loss results but they aren’t the healthiest choices overall for your body because they often eliminate food groups. This can be detrimental to your well-being and your oral health. A well-balanced diet includes every food group and ensures that your teeth are receiving the right quantities of vitamins and minerals that will help keep them healthy.
  • Watch your fruit intake. How can fruit be bad for your teeth? While fruits are certainly an important part of a healthy diet, plenty of fruits contain acid which is one of the biggest causes of enamel erosion. Citrus fruits, while high in vitamins, can do a number on your teeth because of acid content. Drinking juices – especially orange juice or grapefruit juice – can damage your enamel, and even flavoring your water with lemon isn’t all that healthy for your teeth. And while dried fruit may seem like a healthy choice, it’s actually really high in sugar, plus it’s so sticky and chewy it will cling to your enamel and sit there all day, just eating away at your teeth. 4 oral health problems you should never ignore >>

Smart eating choices aren’t just about what’s good for your body, it’s about what the foods will do to your teeth too. Combining your favorite “bad” foods or teeth-unfriendly foods – like chips or crackers – with a meal can help neutralize acids and minimize tooth decay. And while it may seem like chomping on ice throughout the day can keep your mouth busy while doing zero damage to your waistline, one wrong bite down and you could damage a tooth, pop off a crown, or harm any of your cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry treatments.

Whenever you have questions about your oral health, make an appointment with Dr. Shaista Najmi at Ivory Dental in Jacksonville, Florida.

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