What You Eat Can Impact Your Oral Health

added on: March 30, 2023

Your dentist in Tuscaloosa is certainly focused on keeping your mouth healthy, but the truth is, we’re also focused on what you eat. Why? Well, the truth is, what you eat can impact not only your overall health but your oral health, too. To help do our part in celebrating National Nutrition Month, we’re here to raise awareness about how eating right can keep your body and smile happy. 

How Foods Affect Oral Health

Everything we eat can impact oral health. There are some foods that are great for teeth, and some that can cause problems. 

What to Avoid

  • Sugary Sweets: Eating too many sugary sweets can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and even gum disease. It’s why your dentist in Tuscaloosa recommends limiting your daily intake of sugar. When we eat sugar, it feeds the bacteria in the mouth that produce acid. This acid erodes tooth enamel and can cause cavities as well as tooth sensitivity.
  • Acidic Foods & Drinks: Speaking of acid, foods, and drinks that are acidic, such as citrus fruits, sports drinks, and soda can also directly harm the protective layer of enamel on teeth, making them more vulnerable to decay.
  • Starchy Snacks: Sugar and acid aren’t the only things that can negatively affect oral health. Starchy foods, such as bread, crackers, and potatoes, can also contribute to tooth decay. Additionally, high-carb foods break down into simple sugars and can affect your teeth in the same way as sugar. 

Best Types of Food for Teeth

  • High in Calcium & Vitamin D: Two essential nutrients are needed to build and keep strong teeth (and bones!) – calcium and vitamin D. Foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products, leafy greens, and salmon, can help keep teeth and gums healthy.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C isn’t only for enhancing the immune system, it’s also important for gum health. Enjoy foods with a lot of Vitamin C, such as broccoli, strawberries, and bell peppers.

Finding the Best Food for You

Nutrition can be complicated. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tried to help us out by introducing the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992 to show us how much of each food group we should strive to eat every day. But the truth is, nutritional needs are individual, and not all of us need the same things in the same quantities. Things like age, gender, height, weight, activity level, and underlying health concerns can make your ideal combination of foods different from someone else. The best way to find out your nutritional needs is to go to MyPlate and customize the best mix of dietary recommendations for you.

Do your part this month, and all year around, to commit to eating better to keep your mouth and body healthy. And, of course, make sure to see your dentist in Tuscaloosa at least twice a year for dental cleanings and exams.