Ways in Which your Diet Affects your Dental Health

healthy food on table

While we all know that our diet can have a significant impact on our overall health, many are also aware that it can impact our dental health as well. Although our teeth contain strong outer coatings in the form of enamel, our teeth are not completely impervious to damage from wear and tear.

Diet can play a significant role in the development of tooth decay. Along with contributing to the healthy development of your teeth and enamel, diet can also contribute to erosion over time, particularly in regards to acids.

Dental decay is commonly caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. The sugars we consume work together with bacteria in our mouths to create acids that form dental plaque. This can eventually lead to the deterioration of the enamel on our teeth, which can lead to cavities.

There are actually many different types of sugars present in the foods we eat. The frequency at which we consume some sugars can play a significant role in our dental health as well as our overall health. The most common types of sugars contained in our modern diet include:

  • Maltose (Malt Sugar)
  • Fructose (Fruit Sugar)
  • Lactose (Sugar found in Milk)
  • Sucrose (Table Sugar)

A variety of different sugar substitutes have been used for many years to assist in controlling tooth decay. Evidence now suggests that the act of chewing gum with xylitol for at least five minutes after eating can help to stimulate the production of saliva, which in turn can help to protect your teeth from decay.

While sugars play an important role in our dental health, starches are also a strong contributor. Some of the starches that we consume can be easily broken down by the enzymes in our saliva. Those enzymes later release simple sugars, including glucose, which are responsible for the production of acids in our mouths. When sugars are combined with starchy foods, the risk for tooth decay significantly increases. Examples of such foods include sweet baked items and breakfast cereals. By comparison, less refined starches actually work to protect your teeth by requiring more chewing, thus stimulating the production of saliva. Excellent examples include whole grains.

As you can see, our diet can play a critical role in both our overall health as well as our dental health. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, your overall health can also be impact by tooth loss, resulting in a lack of essential nutrients.

What can you do to improve your oral health?

  • Focus on consuming a balanced diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lead protein.
  • Practice good oral hygiene daily, including brushing your teeth and flossing twice each day.
  • Seek oral health care from your dental provider on a regular basis.

If you have any further questions regarding the prevention cavities, give Hinsdale Dental a call today: 630-323-5200.

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