only is your diet important to your general health, it is also important to your
If you do not eat a balanced diet, you are more likely to get
tooth decay and gum disease. Developing teeth can also be affected. Children who
have a poor diet are more likely to have dental problems. Likewise, pregnant
women need balanced diets for their babies' teeth to develop normally.
Diet and tooth decay
How does the food you eat
cause tooth decay? When you eat, food passes through your mouth. Here it meets
the germs, or bacteria, that live in your mouth. You may have heard your dentist
talk about plaque. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria.
These bacteria love sugars and
starches found in many foods. When you don't clean your teeth after eating,
plaque bacteria use the sugar and starch to produce acids that can destroy the
hard surface of the tooth, called enamel. After a while, tooth decay occurs. The
more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage
Gum disease and nutrition
can cause gum disease to progress faster and become more sever in
individuals whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients. Poor
nutrition affects the entire immune system leaving people at a higher risk for
Choose foods wisely
Some foods that you would
least expect contain sugars or starches. Some examples are fruits, milk, bread,
cereals and even vegetables.
The key to choosing foods
wisely is not to avoid these foods, but to think before you eat. Not only what
you eat but when you eat makes a big difference in your dental health. Eat a
balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. If you are on a special diet, keep
your physician's advice in mind when choosing foods. For good dental health,
keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks.
Tips for better dental
|To get a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods.
Choose foods from each of the five major food groups: |
cereals and other grain products
poultry and fish
cheese and yogurt
|Limit the number of snacks that you eat. Each time
you eat food that contains sugars or starches, the teeth are attacked by
acids for 20 minutes or more. |
|If you do snack, choose nutritious foods, such as
cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, sugarless candy and/or gum or a piece of fruit. |
|Foods that cling to your
teeth promote tooth decay, so avoid snacking on soft, sweet, sticky foods
like cake, candy and dried fruits.
|Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less
harm. More saliva is released during a meal, which helps wash foods from the
mouth and helps lessen the effects of acids.
|Always keep your mouth
moist by drinking lots of water. |
|If you have a dry mouth
supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.
|When you eat fermentable
carbohydrates like crackers, cookies and chips eat them as part of your meal
instead of by themselves.
|East combination foods
like cheese and crackers to help inhibit tooth decay.
|Avoid eating too much. It
can not only lead to becoming overweight, it can lead to dental disease as
|Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste that has
the American Dental
Association Seal of Acceptance. |
|Clean between your teeth daily with floss or use interdental cleaners. |
Conditions such as tooth
loss, pain or joint dysfunction can impair chewing there by restricting your
diet which can lead to a poor nutritional intake and put you at risk to other
health problems so................
Visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can help
prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur while they are
easy to treat.
(Information from American Dental
Association and Academy of General Dentistry)
For more on food and
nutrition see Nutrition Gov.