By The Office of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler
March 14, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Untagged

Is Your Diet Helping, or Hurting Your Oral Health?

We are often told that it is important to maintain a healthy diet in order to keep our bodies healthy as well.  Many of us often undergo weight loss programs, which include both exercise and dieting, but did you know that your diet could also reflect the health of your teeth and gums? Your body is like a complex machine, and the foods that you choose to fuel your body, and how often, can affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums. 

The foods that you choose to eat come into contact with the germs and bacteria in your mouth.  If you do not brush your teeth, plaque, which thrives on the starches and sugars found in many of the foods you might consume, will accumulate on your teeth.  Additionally, when plaque combines with the sugars and starches, an acid is produced that attacks the enamel on your teeth, eventually causing decay.

Choose a Healthy Diet

It may seem like an easy task to choose a healthy diet, but fruits, milk, cereals, bread and some vegetables contain sugars and starches that can harm your teeth.  It is also important to limit the consumption of carbonated sodas, sweet fruit drinks and sugary snack foods.  You may not need to avoid these foods, but you will need to keep in mind that a well-balanced diet is important, as well as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. 

Here are some healthy tips to consider when altering your diet:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods from the five major food groups
  • Limit snacking between meals
  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Visit your dentist in Lansing, MI regularly

For a healthy mouth, enlist the following healthy foods into your diet:

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products
  • Sugarless chewing gum
  • Water
  • Lean red meat
  • Chicken and fish

Food to Watch Out For

Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay.  So when you reach for a snack be sure to avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits.  Instead of these snacks, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.

If you consume the following list of foods, do so in moderation, and be sure to practice good oral health care:

  • Carbohydrates – bacteria feed on leftover foods in the mouth, which can produce acid.
  • Sticky, chewy foods – raisins, granola bars, jelly beans, caramel, honey, and syrup stick to teeth and make it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away.
  • Sugary snacks – cookies, cakes, or other desserts contain a high amount of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay.
  • Gum and candy – chewing gum and eating candy is very harmful to your teeth, as the sugar can coat your teeth.
  • Carbonated soft drinks – soda contains an extremely high amount of sugar, which wears away the enamel on your teeth.
  • Fruit or vegetable juices – these drinks tend to be high in sugar, which can damage tooth enamel.

In addition to eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar, it is important to maintain a proper dental regime.  Talk to Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler and her team for more information on what to eat for a tooth friendly diet, and how to maintain a good oral health care regimen.   

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Holly A. Scott-Hetchler DDS, PC 919 Chester RdLansing, MI 48912