The body is made of many complex systems and nutrition supplies the vitamins and minerals that our body uses to build and maintain those systems. The foods we choose and how often we eat them can affect our general health and the health of our teeth and gums, too. If we consume too many sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or non-nutritious snacks, we could be at risk for tooth decay. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease, but the good news is that it is entirely preventable!
Tooth decay happens when certain germs come into contact with sugar in the mouth. These germs eat the sugar and produce acid as a by-product. The acid can then concentrate in areas that are not cleaned regularly, causing tooth decay.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. To control the amount of sugar you eat, read the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on foods and beverages and choose options that are lowest in sugar. Common sources of sugar in the diet include soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries. Your physician or a registered dietitian can also provide suggestions for eating a nutritious diet. Be sure to include plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit in your daily diet. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection. This may contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Severe gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults and many researchers believe that gum disease progresses faster and is potentially more severe in people with poor nutrition. Gum disease has also been shown to compromise the body’s resistance to diabetes, heart disease and possibly COVID .
To learn what foods are best for you, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture. The site contains dietary recommendations for children and adults based on their levels of physical activity.
Try to limit between-meal snacks, drink plenty of water during the day, and eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:
- whole grains
- lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes
- low-fat and fat-free dairy foods
The Morfas Family Dentistry team is dedicated to improving and maintaining not only the oral health of our patients, but also contributing to your overall health as well. We’re in this journey together, so let’s make it a long and healthy one!