A proper and balanced diet is essential to keep our bodies in top shape. Several people eat healthy foods to nourish and energize their bodies so they can remain fit and active. However, more than the energy and nutrient boost it offers, a well-balanced diet strengthens the teeth, gums, and mouth.
A healthy diet is composed of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and protein foods. These food groups provide vital nutrients that keep the mouth and body healthy. Foods that do not belong to any of these categories may harm the body when consumed in excess.
As you start your journey to a healthier mouth, here’s some helpful information to get started with a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Make Better Food Choices
The foods or drinks you consume can trigger the development of tooth decay and other periodontal diseases. A food item can likely destroy your teeth based on the following factors:
- The nutritional content of the food
- The physical form of the food (e.g. solid or liquid, sticky or slow to dissolve in the mouth)
- How often you consume the food or beverage
- The combination of the foods and the order in which you consume them
- An existing medical condition (like diabetes, eating disorders or gastrointestinal reflux) can weaken teeth increase the risk of cavities
The most basic rule when it comes to protecting your teeth from tooth cavities is to minimize or avoid sweets. Sugar is not only bad for your dental health; excessive sugar intake can cause adverse effects to your overall health, too. Experts recommend that people over the age of three consume no more than 50 grams or 12.5 teaspoons of added sugars (sugars that manufacturers add to a processed food product) a day. Sugar should not make up more than ten percent of your daily calorie intake.
Also referred to as empty calorie foods, sweet treats like cakes, cookies, and muffins do not have the nutritional value to promote teeth strength. These foods are high in sugar, which contributes to bacterial growth in the mouth. When harmful bacteria in the mouth eat off these sugars, they release acids that result in tooth decay and bad breath.
There are also fruits and vegetables that offer proper nutrition for the body but have high acid content which can damage the tooth enamel. Examples of these foods are citrus fruits and tomatoes. Eating them as part of a meal and not by themselves can help reduce their direct impact on your teeth.
According to Best Health Magazine, below are the top sources of added sugars and their corresponding sugar percentages:
- Pure fruit juice
- Bottled spaghetti sauce
- Dried fruit
- Fruity yogurt
- Teriyaki sauce
- Vanilla soy milk
- Sweet onion salad dressing
- Sweet onion and teriyaki sandwich
Curbing sugar can minimize your cavity risk. One way to be more conscious about reducing sugar from your diet is by reading food labels. Determine the sugar content added in your food.
What Should Be On Your Plate
Each person has unique nutritional needs. These needs vary according to specific health factors, including an individual’s age, gender, fitness level, physical activities, and current medical condition. As you strive to maintain a healthy diet, it’s also recommended to remain active for optimum health. Ideally, adults should do at least two hours of physical activity (in moderate intensity) each week.
According to the Canadian Dietary Guide, a balanced diet must include:
- Vegetables and fruits – A combination of fruits and vegetables should fill half of your plate. These foods are rich in water and fibre, which cleans the teeth. Fruits and vegetables also increase saliva production. Saliva helps neutralize the acid in the mouth and wash off food particles, keeping decay at bay.
In addition to saliva production, these foods also provide vitamin C to promote healthy gums and wound healing, and vitamin A, which is the building block of tooth enamel.
- Whole grains – Examples of whole grains are whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice. These foods contain iron and B vitamins, which keep teeth and gums healthy. They are also rich in magnesium that helps maintain teeth strength.
- Protein foods – Choose protein sources that come from plants when you can, like peas, beans, and legumes. For lean protein choices, eat skinless poultry, fish, and lean beef. You can also eat seafood (about eight ounces per week) or eggs. Protein also plays a crucial role in fortifying and rebuilding the enamel.
- Dairy – Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy foods. Dairy contains protein, phosphorous, and calcium, nutrients that help fight tooth decay.
- Less processed foods – If you choose highly processed foods, make sure to eat them in small amounts and less often. When preparing your meals and snacks, use ingredients that have little to no sugars, sodium, or saturated fat.
Healthy eating should not only be limited during full meals; it should be implemented in your snack times as well. When you snack, go for the nutritious choice. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, plain yogurt, and cheese are a delicious and healthy alternative. They’re good for your teeth, too. If you can, try to resist the urge to snack in frequent intervals within the day. Be sure to brush and floss after snacking to remove sugary buildup. Drink plenty of water to flush out food particles.
Here are additional guidelines to prevent cavities and enjoy healthier teeth, gums, and mouth:
- Keep your mouth clean – Make it a habit to brush your teeth twice a day. Brush for two minutes to remove sugars and food debris from your teeth.
- Minimize snacking – Limiting your snacks in between meals reduces the exposure of your mouth to bacteria-inducing sugars and acids. Eat healthily and eat full meals.
- Stick to a balanced meal – Where possible, always include vegetables and fruits, dairy, and plenty of water in your diet. All these play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy every day.
- Visit your dentist regularly – Make dental appointments a habit. Have your whole mouth cleaned every six months (or as needed) to remove the buildup of plaque and calculus. Checking in with your dentist also allows you to keep track of your oral health and address existing problems before they get serious.
When you need a reliable dental practice to assist you in keeping your mouth healthy, you can always count on Cosmo Dental Centre. We provide personalized treatment to ensure you get the full dental care and attention you need. We highly value patient education, to give you and your family the tools and knowledge to maintain your oral health between visits. Call us at (519) 659-2767 to book an appointment. You can also fill this form to channel in your inquiries.