As the old cliché goes, you are what you eat. And I believe it. For instance, who doesn’t think fruitcake eaters are slightly nutty, or honey lovers tend to be a bit sweet. And we all know if you’re brave enough to try roadkill, well, you’re probably dead meat. Of course, I can’t take all the credit for the cheesy jokes (it’s probably the pizza), but I can offer some insight on how your diet can affect your oral health.
When you think about it, every bit of food and ounce of drink that goes into our body enters through our mouth. This means your teeth and gums immediately withstand the effects of the type of food you put in your body, and the food that is good for your overall health tends to be what is good for your oral health as well. Therefore, making healthy choices for your teeth and gums can help your overall health and vice versa.
There are over 600 types of oral bacteria in our mouth and they all thrive on both carbohydrates and acidic environments. Bacteria use carbohydrates and sugars for energy and growth and produce the bi-product of acid. This eventually can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
To combat this bacterial growth, the first step is to limit sugars, carbohydrates, coffee, wine, and certain teas and soups. Then incorporate fruits and vegetables, which have a washing effect that can remove bacteria.
Of course, the very best way to remove bacteria, lower acidity, and prevent staining is to brush and floss after every meal.
Certainly, food should always be taken in context, and when done so can be just as enjoyable as, well, a dental visit.
Happy eating and happy smiling!