Diet and Dental Health
The things you eat and the way you eat them have a major impact on oral health.Many of the foods we love impact oral health in a completely negative way. Acids, sugars, and carbohydrates all contribute to tooth decay and soft tissue damage.
On the other hand, certain foods are essential for tooth development. There are many dietary choices you can make that will benefit your overall oral health in a positive way.
Citrus fruits and tomatoes already have acid contained in them and this acid immediately goes to work on tooth enamel. During and after consuming these kinds of foods, drink plenty of water or rinse your mouth out completely. If possible, but not eat them alone but incorporate them within larger meals to minimize their harm.
When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth eat right along with you. Sugar is their ideal food, causing them to multiply at exponential rates. Just one short minute after you ingest sugary foods or drinks, the number of bacteria explodes. This directly increases the rates of tooth decay and soft tissue damage. Sugary drinks, such as sodas and juices, are especially detrimental because they spread food for plaque throughout the mouth.
Starchy carbohydrates are very similar to pure sugar and are the thus the next worst type of food for your teeth. Potato chips, bread, crackers, and other carbs that get stuck in your teeth are the worst because of the extended period of time the bacteria have to break them down. But aside from sugar and acidic foods, you don’t have to worry about any other types of food breaking down your teeth.
Dairy is widely known to be an excellent source of calcium, the essential mineral needed to rebuild tooth enamel. But few people know that milk and cheese also contain casein, a protein thought to help protect teeth from acid up front.
Meat and Nuts
Meat, nuts, and even eggs are also great sources of calcium and phosphorous which are essential to re-mineralization. This is basically the process by which enamel is rebuilt after being eroded by plaque.
Fruits and vegetables that require ample chewing have a scrubbing effect on your teeth. Leafy greens, carrots, apples, pears, and other plant-based foods that produce a ‘crunch’ when chewed remove plaque from your teeth as you chew them up.
How you eat
Eating large meals is much better for your teeth than snacking. Not only do large meals have the ability to dilute the effects of potentially harmful foods, but saliva production is boosted, helping to buffer plaque build up. In addition, habits, like drinking (sugar-free) hot tea after meals or eating your salad last, can help to keep teeth plaque free.
Oral fixation is a natural human characteristic. But depending on what you are chewing on, you could be jeopardizing your teeth. Chewing on things like ice, seeds, or hard candies can chip or crack teeth. And chewing on things like toffee or chewing gum may pull at fillings and expose teeth to sugar for long periods. However, sugarless gum is considered good for your teeth as it promotes saliva production.
Dental hygiene obviously plays a crucial role in dental health. The way you take care of your mouth goes a long way toward determining the longevity of your teeth. It is important to maintain a consistent dental hygiene routine.
If you have great habits, you could go your whole life without a cavity. The issue is, many of us do not quite know the best way to take care of our teeth. Let’s do what we can rectify that here and now.
Most of us have heard that we should brush our teeth twice a day. While you should brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, you should also do so shortly after each meal or snack whenever possible. For these, after meal cleanings, you want to wait at least 30 minutes after you eat and you can forego the toothpaste. The aim is to remove bits of food as well as the plaque. Always use a soft bristle brush.
It is not actually the toothpaste that cleans your teeth. The bristles of the brush and the brushing motion is what gets the surfaces of your teeth clean. Therefore, it is essential that you brush all sides of your teeth AND your gums. Don’t forget your tongue either. You want to remove as much plaque as possible.
When you brush your teeth thoroughly, you can also forget the toothpaste for the first two minutes. Toothpaste fortifies, protects, and whitens your teeth. It also freshens your breath, but do not think that it is a necessity when brushing. For a precise demonstration of how best to brush, your local dentist is the best resource.
As important as brushing is, it only cleans 3 of the 5 distinct surfaces of teeth. This can leave a large part of your teeth exposed to harmful bacteria and their acidic byproducts for extended periods of time. Flossing removes some of the oldest, most harmful, and odorous substances from your mouth and is thus extremely important. Flossing can seem a little tricky at first. But yet again, your local dentist would be more than happy to show you exactly how.
Whenever you eat, it is important to free your mouth of debris, plaque, and acids as quickly as possible. Rinsing can be an excellent way to do this quickly. Antibacterial mouthwash is designed to eliminate bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay. Fluoridated mouthwash can protect teeth in the same way toothpaste can. If you have no other options, water is certainly better than nothing.
The balance of eating mindfully and maintaining optimal dental hygiene can seem like a daunting task. Good news is, you do not have to do it alone. Your local dentist will be happy to clean the areas of your teeth that are the most difficult to reach. She can also serve as a fount of knowledge and encouragement. If you are serious about your dental health, this may be what ‘gets you over the hump’.
Many of our daily activities put our teeth in danger. As human beings, it is quite alright to have fun and indulge in certain lifestyle choices. But it is important to understand how these choices may impact our dental health. Education is a key factor in making healthier choices for ourselves and our families.
Up to 90% of all oral cancers are caused by tobacco use. Smoking and chewing are both culprits. This should be enough to deter people from smoking, but we all know how hard a habit that is to kick. In addition, tobacco use stains teeth and contributes to bad breath. Furthermore, it is a risk factor for periodontal disease and slows healing inside your mouth. Anyone looking for another reason to quit needs but consider their smile.
Drinkers are affected by oral cancers six times as often as non-drinkers. Alcohol impedes the effectiveness of the immune system as well as many other important bodily functions. On top of that, wine and other acidic spirits directly damage the enamel of teeth, as any other acid will too. Red wine, particularly, stains teeth as well.
About five million teeth are lost every year to sports-related incidents. Mouth guards are required in high-contact sports such as football, but many other sports to do require it. The fact is, in nearly any sport, teeth can be on the line. Falls, elbows, balls, and many unique situations can lead to tooth loss when participating in these kinds of activities. No matter what sport you or your family is engaged in, a mouth guard is likely to save a smile.
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