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Brushing your teeth is just one part of keeping your mouth healthy. Your oral health is influenced by many different aspects of your lifestyle, including what you eat. To keep your teeth happy and healthy for years to come, it’s important to be mindful of your diet. Here at Mill Dam Dental Care, we help our patients with every aspect of their oral health, including nutrition. Let’s take a look at how nutrition and oral health are connected and what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

What Does Oral Health Look Like?

In order to understand how nutrition affects your oral health, it’s first important to understand what a healthy mouth looks and feels like. Oral health isn’t just about your teeth – it’s also your lips, gums, and tongue. When your mouth is fully healthy, you’ll be able to eat, speak, and breathe comfortably and without any pain. Healthy gums have a firm texture, do not bleed during oral care, and are not swollen or inflamed. Healthy teeth are firmly attached to the underlying bones in your jaw and do not move. They also do not show signs of decay.

Unfortunately, many people experience poor oral health at various points in their lives, whether it be due to a lack of oral care, underlying health conditions, or other factors. Proper dental care can help you address oral health issues when they arise.

How Are Nutrition and Oral Health Connected?

Nutrition plays an important role in your oral health, but unfortunately, many patients overlook it. A poor diet can lead to serious oral health issues, even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly. Eating a diet that is rich in nutrients contributes to a healthy mouth in many different ways. For example, eating plenty of minerals helps to keep your enamel strong, while consuming plenty of vitamins helps to keep your gums healthy and resilient.

On the other hand, eating a diet that is high in sugars could cause your enamel to break down more quickly and eventually cause tooth decay, particularly if you’re not brushing and flossing your teeth after eating. Additionally, general malnutrition can also lead to a variety of harmful oral health conditions and even make it more difficult for your mouth to heal from infections or general inflammation.

Nutritional Tips for Oral Health

Because nutrition and oral health are so closely related, making small adjustments to your diet will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Here are some nutritional tips to keep in mind to improve your oral health.

Nutrition and Oral Health
Nutrition and Oral Health

Drink Plenty of Water

It isn’t just what you eat that affects your oral health – what you drink plays a role as well. In particular, it’s important to drink plenty of water to wash away the sugars that stick to your teeth and form plaque. Water can also be a good source of fluoride, a mineral that helps keep your enamel healthy and prevent cavities. Many cities have fluoridated tap water, which makes it easy to get the minerals you need.  If you forget to drink water throughout the day, try carrying a water bottle with you and tracking your water intake. In particular, it’s important to make sure you drink water with meals, as it will help wash away any leftover food.

Eat Plenty of Proteins and Healthy Fats

Eating a balanced diet is important for all aspects of your health. When it comes to protecting your enamel, it’s particularly helpful to opt for foods like leafy greens, cheese, poultry, fish, and eggs. Not only do these foods contain the mix of proteins and healthy fats that your body needs for energy, but you’ll also get a mix of minerals to keep your enamel strong.

Eat the Rainbow

In addition to minerals to keep your teeth strong, you’ll also need plenty of vitamins to keep your gums healthy. One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the vitamins you need is to include fruits and vegetables of many different colors in your meals. The rich nutrients in fruits and vegetables are what gives them their bright colors, so this is an easy visual cue to help you make sure you’re getting a balanced diet. If you find that you struggle to eat fruits and vegetables, consider adding in a multivitamin supplement as well.

Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Mouth

While there are many foods that make a positive impact on your oral health, there are also plenty of foods and drinks that have the opposite effect. In particular, foods that have a high sugar content are most likely to damage your enamel and potentially cause tooth decay. Foods that typically have a very high sugar content include soft drinks, candies, and other desserts. Additionally, many alcoholic beverages have a high sugar content as well.

While fruits are full of healthy vitamins and minerals, it’s important to consume them in moderation, as they do have a high sugar content. Citrus fruits can be particularly damaging because they are highly acidic, and acid wears down enamel more quickly. Of course, it’s okay to enjoy these sugary treats occasionally. Just be sure to do so in moderation, and brush your teeth shortly after eating to prevent the sugar from lingering in your mouth.

Maintaining a Healthy Oral Care Routine

In addition to eating a healthy diet and keeping your sugar intake to a minimum, it’s also important to have a good oral care regimen. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day to remove any plaque buildup from the day. Additionally, make sure to see your dentist regularly for cleanings. Regular cleanings will help to remove tartar buildup and keep your gums healthy. Your dentist will also check for more serious oral health problems during your cleanings and recommend further treatment plans if necessary.

We can answer any questions you may have about nutrition and oral health. If you’re in need of dental care in Virginia Beach, Mill Dam Dental is here to help. Get in touch today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.