It is well established that good nutrition is necessary for the healthy growth and development of the body. Unfortunately, when we talk about maintaining a healthy body, we are consumed with managing our weight, looking after our skin, taking care of our hair, etc. But very few people take their dental health seriously. This is unfortunate because good dental health can have a significant impact on one’s overall health.
Most people don’t understand the link between nutrition and oral health. Nutrition is also vital for the healthy development of teeth and gums. If our diet is deficient in certain minerals like calcium, phosphate or vitamins, our jaw bone can become weak, gums can become inflamed, and our teeth can develop poorly or remain underdeveloped. More importantly, when nutrition is poor, the oral cavity is more prone to developing problems such as infections and tooth decay.
When Should You Start Eating A Nutritious Diet?
It is important to understand that when your dental health is good, it generally means that your overall body health is good. People who have poor dental health like cavities and gum infections also tend to have heart disease, are more likely to be overweight, may have difficulty with indigestion and may suffer from other associated medical problems. It is thus important to maintain good dental health if we want to be healthy overall.
To ensure that the teeth, gums and jaw bone grow healthy, it is important to start good dietary habits early on in life. As soon as children are able to eat solid foods, one should encourage the consumption of healthy foods. This means their diet should include a healthy blend of fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, dairy, whole grains, and fibre.
This does not mean you should deprive yourself and your children of consuming sugar altogether. As long as you keep things in moderation and do not make cookies, chocolates, cakes, and pastries a daily part of your diet, you should be able to maintain good oral health as well as eat a nutritious diet.
What Type Of Foods Are Recommended For Good Dental Health?
First of all, there is no such thing as a dental diet. You simply need to use common sense and your basic knowledge of foods to determine what would and would not be harmful to your teeth. There is no restriction as such on what food you can eat as long as you consume these items in reasonable amounts.
To get the nutrients that you need for good dental health, eat veggies, fruits, nuts, almonds, cereal, whole wheat, fish and some red meat. Avoid sugary foods because they attract bacteria. Water should be the beverage of choice. Avoid or limit the number of cola beverages because they not only contain sugar but also contain unnecessary calories, which quickly make you gain weight. If you feel hungry in-between meals, avoid going for that cookie jar but instead opt for a vegetable snack or fruits. Limit the amount of coffee as it can stain your teeth. If occasionally, you eat sugary or acidic foods, make sure you rinse your mouth with water afterward. The important thing is to keep a balance and consume the necessary nutrients on a daily basis. If you do so, then a piece of chocolate cake once in a while will not destroy your dental health.
Food items that will provide you the necessary nutrients are those that contain ample calcium, minerals, and vitamins. The types of vitamin that you need for healthy teeth include vitamins C and D. A good source for Vitamin D is dairy foods like cheese, milk, and yogurt. Remember, a diet that is deficient in vitamin D can lead to tooth decay and premature tooth loss.
Other vitamins that you still need in small amounts include Vitamins A, K, and E. These fat-soluble vitamins can be found in vegetables, meat, and fish oil.
Should I Take Supplements To Improve The Health Of My Teeth?
In general, for people who eat a healthy diet and have no medical problems, there is absolutely no need to take any type of supplement. However, supplements may be necessary if you are unable to eat, unable to absorb the minerals and vitamins from your gut or have problems with your intestine like Crohn disease, Celiac disease or Cystic fibrosis. In such cases, speak to your healthcare provider to determine which supplements you need to take.
There are some people who are picky eaters. This is especially true for children. If you have a child that is too fussy about food, you might use supplements to ensure they are getting the necessary nutrients. But in the long run, it is always a good idea to develop the habit of eating food items that naturally provide you the nutrients you need.
What Else Is Important For Healthy Teeth?
It is important to remember that nutrition is just one part of good dental health. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss them once a day, Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride as there is good evidence that this mineral can prevent cavities and strengthen bone. In general, after a meal, develop the habit of rinsing your mouth with a fluoride-containing mouthwash.
Visit a dentist regularly because there is no substitute for it. The American Dental Association recommends that healthy adults and children should see a dentist at least twice a year. Those who have any type of dental disease should see the dentist more frequently. During the dental visits, the dentist can check for oral cavity disease and the health of your teeth and gums and can identify any potential issues before they become worse. When dental problems are identified in the early stage, they can be treated more effectively without too much damage to one’s dental health.
It is high time that people gave as much importance to their teeth as they do to their weight and skin. Just like we try different diets to maintain our weight, we should also try to ensure we are consuming nutritious and healthy food so that we can improve our overall physical health as well as our oral health.
Dr. Chris Campus is a dentist at Sorrento Dental Care. He loves sharing his knowledge with his patients so they can make better decisions about their oral health.