It’s no secret that eating a balanced diet is an important part of staying healthy. What we eat and drink can play a big role in how well our bodies function, but did you know that what you choose to consume can also affect your oral health? For better or worse, nutrition is linked to your smile!
Here at Bee Cave Orthodontic, it’s our mission to create beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in Austin and the surrounding communities. One way we do that is through orthodontics, but we’re also committed to helping you improve the overall health of your teeth and gums. A nutritious diet is a vital part of that process.
When you have a better understanding of how nutrition and oral health are linked, it’s easier to maintain a happy and healthy mouth! Let’s look a little more closely at how your diet can help protect your teeth — or negatively affect them.
Nutrition is a building block for oral health
Nutrition actually affects our oral health before we’re ever even born. The nutrient expectant mothers consume, such as calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and protein, help the baby’s teeth begin to form. They also help the teeth to mineralize properly. This is a process that continues throughout our lives! Our teeth will develop and mineralize throughout our teen years, and our oral tissues never stop recycling, but it takes a variety of vitamins and minerals to accomplish all of this successfully.
Good nutrition is also one way to practice preventive oral care. Nutritional deficiencies can reduce your resistance to dental disease, and inhibit your body’s ability to fight off certain kinds of infection. While your diet can help prevent tooth decay and enamel erosion, the opposite holds true as well. Human mouths are hospitable to many different kinds of bacteria, but unfortunately, not all of them are helpful. There are plenty of harmful microorganisms just waiting to take advantage of any added sugar in your diet!
When you give this kind of bad bacteria an open invitation, it will begin processing ingested sugar, then producing acids that eat into the enamel of your teeth. This can increase your chances of developing cavities and gum disease, or lead to loose or even lost teeth. This is just one reason why we encourage our patients to avoid consuming too much added sugar.
A healthier diet = a healthier mouth
There are many great options when it comes to choosing foods that will benefit for your teeth, and overall oral health. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruit are often excellent sources of healthy vitamins and minerals, and starch-rich staples like bread, rice, and potatoes can be good for you, too.
It is important, however, to keep in mind that even naturally occurring sugar can cause dental issues when it is consumed in large enough quantities, especially when it’s not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. Remember: moderation is key when it comes to any kind of sugar, as is a regular dental hygiene routine!
Some other smart choices that can give you a stronger smile and improve your oral health include:
Milk and other dairy products
Cheese is a popular snack which is not only delicious, but also good for you! Dairy products, including milk and yogurt, are full of calcium that helps keep the bones and teeth healthy and strong.
Whole grain bread and pasta
Certain whole grains contain complex carbohydrates that give those bad bacteria we talked about less digestible food to grow on. They also contain a number of different nutrients that can help your whole mouth stay healthy.
Chicken, red meat, and fatty fish
While meat of any type is typically associated with protein, these items also contain phosphorus, which is a vital component when it comes to strengthening your teeth and protecting the tooth enamel.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Everybody knows that eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and veggies is one of the best things you can do for your overall health! Leafy greens in particular can give your smile a boost since they contain high amounts of magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and magnesium, all of which are instrumental in improving and maintaining oral health.
Even though soda, juice, and sports drinks are popular, they’re not always the best choice when it comes to caring for our smiles. These beverages leave behind sugars that provide a veritable banquet for bad bacteria, resulting in acids that eat away at the enamel of the teeth. Sodas and juices also contain phosphoric, citric, or malic acids that can make any existing enamel erosion worse.
When it comes to quenching your thirst and benefiting your body, you can’t beat a glass of plain old water! Water helps to wash away any leftover food and debris, and also dilutes the acids that are produced by harmful bacteria. Drinking more water can also help bring a dry mouth and bad breath under control, and goes a long way towards keeping your mouth clean and healthy, reducing the risk of cavities and even gum disease.
Find your healthiest smile at Bee Cave Orthodontics
Knowing what you choose to eat and drink can have a big impact on your oral health, it’s even more important that you make smart choices as an orthodontic patient. By adopting a healthier diet and paying a little extra attention to your nutrition, you’ll give your smile an extra sparkle and help improve your total body health, too!
At Bee Cave Orthodontics, we’re proud to provide you with the treatment options and expert support you need to improve your oral health. If you’re in Austin or the surrounding area and want to learn more about how good nutrition can improve your oral health, our team is here to help! Give us a call today or click here to schedule an appointment with our office. We look forward to working with you towards a smile you’ll be proud to share with the world!