Keeping your teeth and gums beautiful, healthy, and strong is about more than just brushing, flossing, and avoiding sweets; good nutrition also plays a large role in your dental health. It require smart food choices and good timing.

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a healthy diet
A healthy diet

A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system so you’ll be less vulnerable to oral disease. It will also provide you with the nutrients your body needs to maintain strong teeth and healthy gums. So what is a healthy diet? Here are a few examples of the foods that are part of a regular healthy diet:

  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Moderate portions of protein
  • Moderate portions of complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Unsaturated vegetable fats.

Additionally, eating foods like nuts, cheese, onions, and certain teas have been shown to actually slow the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Foods To Limit

In contrast, eating too many sweets, foods that stick to your teeth (like potato chips and dried fruit), and foods that are slow to dissolve in your mouth (like hard candies and granola bars) encourage tooth decay.

One of the main offenders when it comes to tooth decay is soft drinks. Soft drinks are one of the biggest sources of refined sugars in the American diet; in addition to the 9 – 12 teaspoons of sugar per serving, sodas contain phosphoric and citric acids which can erode your tooth enamel.

Frequency and Timing

Recent research has found that your dental health can also be affected by how often you eat. Each time you eat a sweet or starchy food, the bacteria in your mouth feasts on the sugars and, in turn, produce acids that attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more. The more frequently you eat, the more your teeth are exposed to these acids, which can eventually dissolve your tooth enamel and cause decay.

One way your diet can benefit your dental health is to combine your foods into a meal. Sticky or starchy foods create less acid in your mouth when they are eaten as part of a meal because saliva production increases at mealtime. Saliva not only rinses away food particles, but it also neutralizes harmful acids and helps to remineralize your teeth, making them more resistant to acid attacks.

To maximize your nutrition and dental health, eat a well-balanced diet, limit starchy, sugary, and sticky foods or drinks, and avoid snacking between meals.

Copyright © 2005, Patterson Dental Supply, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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