How Is Your Diet Affecting Your Oral Health?

 

 

Guest Post written by Rory Mycek of Top Dentists, a dental health site in the Everyday Health portfolio.

There are so many fad diets and lifestyle trends floating around these days, but what’s truly healthy? While these diets lead to a slimmer waistline, and in some cases very dramatic weight loss, they can negatively affect your oral health. Regardless of what diet or lifestyle you choose to follow, there are some foods and beverages you should be drinking more of and others you should try and avoid.

The Good List

Fruits and vegetables, especially apples, celery and carrots, are great ways to help clean your teeth and keep the doctor out of sight! You can look at these three foods as “nature’s toothbrushes”. They help remove plaque that lingers on your teeth after eating and promote gum health by aiding in the removal of food particles from your teeth. Juicing diets, while they can be beneficial for one’s health, can negatively affect your oral health. Your teeth need to be cleaned throughout the day and many fruits and vegetables also help whiten teeth but only if you’re chewing on them.

Whole grains are rich in vitamin B and iron, which help maintain the health of your mouth and gums. Those who have a diet that includes the recommended doses of vitamin B and iron notice fewer instances of swelling and irritation in their mouths. Low carb diets have lead more people to avoid healthy carbohydrates, whole grains being one of them. Instead of cutting out healthy carbs from your diet, try limiting them to the earlier part of the day and your body will burn off the calories from those two slices of whole grain bread (yes, two slices is all you need)!

Green tea is not only a healthier alternative to coffee, but it helps reduce your risk of developing oral cancers. Antioxidants, substances that protect cells from free radicals, along with other properties in green tea help lessen the risk of developing cancers, including oral cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals…they neutralize the electrical charge and prevent the free radical from taking electrons from other molecules.” In other words, they sweep free radicals under the rug!

The Bad List

Sugar is one of the leading contributing factors to poor oral health. Foods and beverages that contain sugar attack your teeth and tend to stick around and cling to your teeth, causing harmful plaque that can lead to erosion in your tooth enamel (cavities). Another cavity-contributor is refined carbohydrates, which attack the teeth like sugary foods. By eliminating, or at least limiting, candy, sweet baked goods and soda from your diet you can do your teeth a huge justice!

Acidic foods are healthy for your body, but they can deteriorate the enamel on your teeth. Lemons, pickles, oranges and tomatoes are some examples of acidic foods that have shown to be healthy for your body but can cause some issues with your teeth. Instead of cutting these foods out follow up with a glass of water to help promote saliva production to get rid of the acidity in your mouth.

When deciding to follow a healthy lifestyle remember that everything in moderation is fine, including sugar. Rather than choosing to follow a diet, choose to include healthier options into your diet or limit foods instead of eliminating them.

 

Rory Mycek is a guest contributor for Top Dentists, a dental health site in the Everyday Health portfolio. On her free time she can be found doing yoga, dancing, making up healthy recipes to satisfy her sweet tooth, or veganizing popular dinner dishes.

Comments

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  2. Hello Sunithi what a really great way of looking at things with the good list and the bad list and there was a couple of things that I didn’t know were bad and that was that acidic foods are healthy but not so good on teeth enamel.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Dave
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  3. I am very particular with sugar intake and how it can cause damage to teeth especially among kids.
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  4. I think that everyone agrees that sugary foods and soda are bad for your teeth. I continue to see conflicting information regarding tea, apples, and citrus. I understand that some of these have some beneficial elements while other traits can harm your teeth. And food will affect each mouth differently. The best thing would probably be to discuss how your diet is affecting your mouth with your dentist.
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  5. I didn’t know that fruits like apples and vegetables like celery and apple can help in cleaning the teeth. I will surely eat more often of these.
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  6. Loved this post!! It is indeed true that what all we munch in, do have an effect on our oral health. I liked the way you have segregated this post as good list and bad list. My aunt is a dentist, so she keeps pouring such food lists in my ears, and I follow. I completely refrain from soda, it’s way too bad. Thanks for the share.

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  8. I often tell my kids to stay away from sugary foods especially my young boy, who just started to lose his baby teeth.

  9. This is a great article. I have minimized my sugar intake for some time and definitely feel the health benefits.
    I usually use honey rather than sugar if I need to sweeten something.Don’t forget some fruits contain a lot of sugar also and should be avoided. After eating acidic sweets if I can’t clean my teeth, I use a non sweetened gum, that helps to reduce the chances of acid damage to my teeth.

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  11. I remember when I was so addicted to drinking coffee. My dentist said I should minimize drinking coffee because my teeth are all kind of tarnished despite of brushing regularly. Thanks for such a cool post! :)

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  13. Actually, from few days i’m feeling stomach upset because of over eating of junk food.Now i stop it completely..

  14. Thanks for sharing this very interesting and helpful post. I agree that too much sugar and acidic foods can cause damage to oral health. And we must also see a dentist for at least 2x year to check our oral condition.

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  16. Thank you for sharing this very informative post. This is a very good way of educating readers about oral health. This must be shared with children for they are the ones who really need this information.
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  19. Sugar consumption causes a wide range of health problems and should be minimized at the very least. If sugary or acidic foods are eaten, teeth should be cleaned as soon as possible after the meal. If not, chewing gum can help to reduce the effects on the teeth, as long as this does not contain sugar !!
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  30. Wow! Apple is the best. I will eat 6 Apples a day to make sure that I will have a commendable oral health.
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  38. Hello Sunithi!
    Keeping your mouth healthy is definitely not only about brushing and flossing. Adding fruits will increase the strength of your teeth and they will look better. Thanks for posting.
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  39. Hey great article, I’m just wondering what you think of pasteurized milk in terms of oral health? Obviously some people say it’s good because it has lots of calcium, but then the pasteurization process apparently kills the enzyme that allows our bodies to digest it fully. What are your thoughts?

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