How Your Diet Affects Your Oral Health

The impact of our diet on our oral health presents us with a paradox. On the plus side, we have an opportunity at least oral-healththree times a day to make choices that nourish our bodies and strengthen our teeth and gums. On the minus side, our contemporary “convenience food” culture has made poorer nutritional choices readily available, cheap, and easy to prepare when we’re pressed for time.

However, it is possible to switch out bad dietary habits for good ones with just a few simple changes. These changes, when practiced regularly, can make an enormous difference in your oral health over the long term.


For Better Oral Health, Eat This, Not That!

  1. Choose water over other beverages. Many United States residents have access to fluoridated drinking water, so a cold glass of ice water from your tap is an excellent choice, compared to coffee, tea, soda, or citrus-flavored beverages.
  2. Pick snacks with less sugar. Americans consume more sugar, particularly in the form of beverages like soda or energy drinks, than ever before. You can counteract this trend by choosing dairy-rich foods such as unflavored yogurt or cheese, unsalted nuts, or lean proteins such as hard-boiled eggs.
  3. Focus on eating enough fresh fruits and veggies. Produce contains lots of water and fiber, delivers vital minerals and encourages the production of saliva, which keeps your mouth more free of bacterial plaque.
  4. Select a diet of whole foods rather than rely excessively on nutritional supplementation. Eat foods in a less processed state when possible. Nutrient-dense foods such as lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and cheeses can facilitate greater oral health. Raw, crunchy vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, or bell peppers are also good choices.

 “Your dentist and hygienist are key members of the team that helps you maintain your oral health, but the choices you make every day about what you eat matter just as much,” says Dr. Melanie Bauer, a dentist in practice at Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “Our staff is happy to advise you on nutritional decisions that can strengthen your teeth and gums.”

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