Many of us know that a balanced nutritious diet is essential to healthy living. Our eating patterns and food choices play an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. The mouth, teeth and gums are more than just tools. They are essential for chewing and swallowing, a major part in our digestion process. What you put in your mouth not only impacts your general health, but also your teeth and gums. If we don’t monitor what we eat and have an unbalanced diet, the first signs of poor nutrition show up in our oral health.
When determining your nutrition and calorie intake, you need to factor in your age, gender and physical activity and health factors.
A balanced and healthy diet should include:
- Fruit and Vegetables. Combined together these should cover over half your plate at meals.
- Grains. A large portion of your grains should be whole grains. Oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread.
- Dairy. Reach for a low-fat or fat-free snack such as cheese or yogurt.
- Protein. Make lean protein choices, by selecting lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Protein doesn’t only have to come in the form of meats, try different legumes or beans and eggs. Eating a variety of different food choices will allow you to stay on track with your nutritious meal options. Eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week.
We all enjoy a snack and we sometimes need a snack between meals during the day. We do encourage you to limit your eating and drinking between meals, especially if you select options as bagged chips and sweets. Certain foods promote rapid tooth decay and increased amounts of saliva throughout the day, which causes more bacteria to remain in your mouth, putting you at risk for cavities. The slow intake of beverages throughout the day keeps your teeth in constant irritation of acids. The acid will slowly start to wear away at your enamel. Snacking on healthier options, such as, cheese, yogurt, fruits and nuts will help you stay on track for a balanced diet.
Foods that May Benefit Dental Health
Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds are high in calcium, which are beneficial to your tooth health. Protein rich foods, such as, poultry, fish, milk, eggs and meat are high in phosphorous. Why are these two minerals important to your teeth? These two minerals play an important role in protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel. Fruits and Vegetables are beneficial to your dental health because they are high in water and fiber, which help to clean your teeth. Many fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C, which helps in building healthy gums and is quick at healing wounds.
Don’t forget about, WATER; hands down it is the most tooth friendly beverage, especially when it contains fluoride.