Nutrition and Your Teeth

Oral HygieneMarch is National Nutrition Month and that provides a great opportunity to review the very strong link between what we eat and its impact on our oral hygiene.

While your ideal daily menu will vary based on your activity level, general health and personal tastes, there are several across-the-board recommendations that hold true in terms of strengthening your overall well-being and your oral health.

Improve your oral hygiene with optimal eating

  • Eat and drink to stay hydrated. Saliva is the “bloodstream” of our mouth, and ensures that we are able to wash the debris (including bacterial biofilm) off of our teeth. Drink plenty of water, choose fruits and vegetables such as apples, cucumbers or pears, and consider chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol to keep the saliva flowing and your mouth healthy.
  • Fill half of your meal plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture to your plate. In terms of dental health, they provide water to hydrate you and fiber to help clean your teeth. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.
  • Choose foods containing essential minerals and vitamins. Foods that are the most helpful to your teeth and gums contain calcium (dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk), phosphorus (cheese, salmon, certain nuts and seeds), Vitamin C (found in most fresh fruits and vegetables), Vitamin D (sardines, salmon, and fortified milk), and beta-carotene or Vitamin A (orange-colored foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, and cantaloupe).
  • Skip the sweets, in every form. One of the simplest (although not necessarily easiest) ways to reduce damage to your teeth from tooth decay is to reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Lower your consumption of cookies, cakes, pastries made with sugar, sticky foods such as caramel and maple syrup, and beverages such as soda pop, energy drinks, and processed fruit juice.

“Smart nutrition choices are an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist who practices in central Phoenix. “Eating well will keep your teeth healthy, beautiful and functional!”


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