Maintain The Best Defenses For Your Oral Health With Proper Nutrition

By: Gen Wright

Every day, your body renews itself, building new muscle, bone, skin and blood. Providing your body with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals helps your teeth, gums, and immune system, stay strong and ward off infection, decay and diseases. According to the American Dental Association, many dentists are concerned that their patients are consuming a record number of sugar filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snacks that affect their teeth. These items typically have little, if any, nutritional value. Over time they can take a toll on your teeth. Establishing good nutritional habits in kids and teenagers is extremely beneficial for building proper eating patterns and food choices throughout their lives.

Choose Your Foods Wisely

When you eat, food passes through your mouth and meets the germs, or bacteria, that live in your mouth. Plaque, as told by your dentist, is a sticky film of bacteria. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugars that are found in many foods. When you don't properly clean your teeth after eating, bacteria use the sugar to produce acids that can destroy the hard surface of the tooth, called enamel. The more you eat and the longer food is left in your mouth, the more damage occurs.

There are some foods that you would least expect contain sugars, such as fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even vegetables. The key to choosing foods wisely is not to avoid foods that contain sugars, but to limit your consumption. What you eat does significantly impact your health, but also when you eat can make a big impact in your dental health. Eat a well-balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. If you are on a special diet, keep your physician's advice in mind when choosing foods. To get a well-balanced diet, eat a variety of foods and choose foods from each of the five major groups:

* Breads, cereals and other grain products
* Fruits
* Vegetables
* Meat, poultry and fish
* Milk, cheese and yogurt

The Importance of Eating Right

You are able to improve your oral health and reduce the risk of periodontal disease by eating a well-balanced diet based on the food pyramid. The food pyramid recommends eating a variety of foods from the five major food groups - grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and meats. With a proper diet, you may be able to prevent tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria.

Eat a well-balanced diet that contains moderation and variety. Always keep your mouth moist by drinking a lot of water because saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth, supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva. Additionally, foods that stick to your teeth can promote tooth decay, so when you snack avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cake, candy and dried fruits. Choose dental healthy foods, instead, such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.

Providing your body with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals helps your teeth and gums, as well as your general health, to ward off infection, decay and disease. Contact your Madison, WI dentist today for more information on how proper nutrition and a well-balanced diet can help your smile sparkle for longer.

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Dr. Daniel J. OConnell, Madison cosmetic dentist, is the founding dentist of Odana Hills Dental. He continues to integrate new technology, such as Madison teeth whitening, into his existing treatment plans, providing exceptional care for patients of all ages.

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