Foods That Help Your Teeth Stay Healthy
Dentists in Houston, TX, have always encouraged patients to take care of dental health by paying close attention to oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing. Although excellent oral hygiene can prevent many oral health conditions, the foods you eat also impact the health of your teeth. When many people think about eating healthy, it is in reference to overall body health, but maintaining healthy teeth can also be heavily dependent on nutrition.
Nutrients Your Teeth Need to Stay Healthy
Beginning in childhood, most people learn that calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth. You may not realize that other vitamins and minerals in your diet are also important for maintaining excellent oral health. Most notably, vitamin C is necessary for gum health and can help reduce the chance of developing gum disease. Since unhealthy gums can have a negative impact on the teeth, getting enough vitamin C in your diet is important. Another necessity for the health of your teeth is phosphorus. Phosphorus needs to come from your diet since it isn’t something that is commonly supplemented like calcium or vitamin C.
Foods That Positively Impact Your Teeth
Calcium, vitamin C, and phosphorus are all important nutrients for strong, healthy teeth. Although you can take supplements, the best way to get these are through a healthy diet. Certain foods are nutrient-rich in these specific categories and are recommended, along with an overall healthy diet to boost your oral health. If your physician recommends limiting or eliminating these foods, ask for a specific substitution that can help you keep your dental health in check.
- Calcium. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, are excellent sources of calcium. If you are dairy-free, fortified substitutes such as soy, almond, cashew or other nut milk can also provide the calcium you need. Tofu is another good choice for those avoiding dairy, and high calcium levels are also found in many dark, leafy greens.
- Vitamin C. The most common source of vitamin C is citrus fruits, though the acidity can be a problem for some people. Other sources include nutrient-dense vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and peppers. Tomatoes and potatoes are also good sources of vitamin C that are popular and eaten frequently.
- Phosphorus. Lean meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are the most common sources of phosphorus, but if you are vegetarian or vegan, you can also consume beans and nuts to make sure you have enough in your diet.
Foods That Can Negatively Affect Your Teeth
It’s no secret that excess sugar and sticky candies can cause dental decay and gum inflammation. Dentists have always taught patients to reduce the intake of sweets and brush after consumption. Hard candies can wreak havoc on your enamel since they typically contain sugar and citric acid and remain in your mouth for a prolonged time. Other foods that can degrade enamel are pickled vegetables since the vinegar used to pickle them is very acidic.
Some people avoid soda because it is known to be damaging to the teeth, but sports drinks can be nearly as problematic. Even coffee and tea can discolor teeth and make the stained areas more sticky and therefore more likely to attract bacteria. Eradicating these items from your diet may not be necessary to maintain good dental hygiene; limiting them and then brushing your teeth, drinking water, or chewing sugar-free gum after consuming can help mitigate their effects on your teeth enamel.
The Link Between Whole-Body Health and Oral Health
Another way your diet is linked to dental health involves the connection between whole-body health and oral health. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes and acid reflux, can negatively affect your teeth and gums. Eating a healthy diet can reduce the symptoms of these medical conditions or, in some cases, prevent them before they occur.
Another healthy habit that impacts both oral and whole-body health is being mindful of snacking. Snacking between meals can make it difficult to maintain your weight unless you make smart choices, but it can also keep acids unnecessarily on your teeth. Rinsing with water or brushing your teeth after snacks can help reduce the negative impact on your teeth, but reducing your snacking habit can positively impact your overall health.
Check-In On Your Oral Health
Besides developing healthy dental habits, such as brushing, flossing, and eating healthy foods that are good for your teeth and body, regular visits to the dentist can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. If you are in the Houston, TX area and want to learn more about keeping your teeth bright and healthy, contact Ingenious Dentistry online or call (713) 795-5905 to set up an appointment.
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