Brushing and flossing aren’t the only important factors for healthy teeth. In fact, brushing and flossing are just one part of a complete oral health routine. What you eat and drink plays a big role in the condition of your teeth. If you eat or drink too many of the wrong things, you could pay the price when it comes to your teeth.
At Biggers Family Dentistry, we want to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. We regularly share information about maintaining oral health in hopes of encouraging you to practice healthy habits. That includes paying more attention to what you put in your mouth.
How Does My Diet Affect My Oral Health?
The foods and drinks you consume contain some level of nutritional value, some more than others. A healthy diet contains a variety of foods and drinks with high nutritional value. Calcium, vitamin D, protein, and similar nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet, especially when it comes to your teeth. Foods and drinks that contain too much sugar or acid can damage your teeth.
A diet that lacks proper nutrition can affect your immune system, making it easier for you to develop conditions like gum disease. A weakened immune system causes the tissues in your mouth, like your gums, to have a harder time fighting harmful, infection-causing bacteria. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Researchers believe that gum disease occurs more often and progresses faster in individuals who lack proper nutrition. While we believe moderation is key, it’s clear that for a healthy mouth, a well-balanced diet is essential.
Foods & Drinks That Are Bad For Your Teeth
There are several foods and drinks that are particularly bad for your teeth. The first one we’ll mention is one that surprises many of our patients: ice.
While ice is made of water which is definitely good for your teeth, chewing on it can put your teeth at risk for damage. Because of its hard surface, you can crack, break, or wear down the enamel of your teeth. You’re much better off sticking to water.
You also want to pay attention to how much citrus you’re consuming. The acid in citrus fruits can wear down your tooth enamel, leaving you susceptible to increased sensitivity, while putting you at a higher risk for decay.
More obvious foods to avoid when possible include soft drinks, candy, alcohol, fruit juices, sports drinks, and gummies.
It’s no secret that sugar isn’t exactly good for you. But it can be especially harmful to your teeth. When you eat or drink something with a lot of sugar, it combines with the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid that is bad for your teeth.
Almost all foods contain some kind of sugar, but it’s important to avoid excess and added sugar when following a well-balanced diet. The best way to avoid consuming too much sugar is to read food labels and ingredient lists on packages. You should also be aware of hidden sugars that are in some surprising foods. Unsuspecting foods that tend to contain high amounts of sugar include:
- Cereal and pre-packaged oatmeal
- White bread
- Granola, protein, or cereal bars
- “Low-calorie” drinks
- Sweetened yogurt
- Frozen waffles, pancakes, and similar bread products
- Bottled sauce, salad dressing, and condiments
- Dried fruit and similar fruit snacks
What To Eat For Healthy Teeth
When consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet that’s good for your teeth, it’s important to get enough calcium and vitamin D. They’re arguably the most important nutrients for your teeth. Foods like unsweetened yogurt, milk, and leafy green vegetables contain essential nutrients and low amounts of harmful sugar.
To learn more about diet, oral health, and taking care of your teeth, call Biggers Family Dentistry. We’re more than happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. You can also schedule your next dental cleaning and exam to stay on top of your oral health. Call (804) 621-2199 or contact us online to request an appointment.