What You Need to Know About Nutrition and Oral Health

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With almost half of adults over the age of 30 living with periodontal disease in the United States, it is clear that there is so much more than brushing involved in maintaining proper oral hygiene. Believe it or not, the nutrients that individuals choose to put in their bodies can have serious implications on dental health. 

Keep reading to learn more about the intrinsic link between proper nutrition and oral health. 

What Impact Does Your Diet Have On Health and Wellness? 

Food is responsible for fueling the body and supplying it with the proper nutrients for daily life. That’s why eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other important nutrients is crucial when it comes to staying as healthy and happy as possible.

Eating a poor diet on a regular basis can negatively impact an individual’s energy levels, increase the risk of developing a variety of chronic diseases, decrease mental health, lead to obesity, and worsen the risk of developing cavities and periodontal disease

4 Nutrients Everyone Needs for Amazing Oral Health

Without proper nutrition, individuals are at high risk for developing dental diseases. On the other hand, consuming key nutrients on a regular basis can protect teeth from damage and keep the mouth healthy. These are four of the most common vitamins, minerals, and food-based compounds that can improve the health of teeth and gums.

#1 and #2: Calcium and Lactic Acid 

Just as calcium supports healthy bone growth throughout the body, it is also an incredible ingredient for strengthening the jaw bone and the teeth. One study found that diets low in calcium were associated with more severe cases of periodontal disease. Since severe cases of periodontal disease lead to a periodontal pocket and even tooth loss, it should be avoided at all costs. 

There are several sources of calcium that can be part of a healthy diet, including: 

  • Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • Seafood
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Soybeans

Similar to calcium, lactic acid is a nutrient commonly found in dairy products that also does a great job at keeping gum disease at bay. 

#3: Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes with a slew of benefits. Not only does vitamin D aid in the absorption of calcium, but research has found a 47% decrease in dental cavities in children who were taking vitamin D supplements. 

Experts say that spending 15 minutes per day in natural sunlight is one of the best ways to boost Vitamin D levels. In addition, consuming foods rich in Vitamin D is part of a healthy diet. This includes: 

  • Egg yolks 
  • Fatty fish, such as sardines and salmon
  • Milk 
  • Cheese

#4: Vitamin C

Vitamin C serves as so much more than just an immunity boost to prevent a cold: it plays a huge role in maintaining healthy gums, as well. One of the most common signs of vitamin C deficiency is swollen, bleeding, and diseased gums that result from weakened gum tissue. This deficiency can even cause tooth loss over time.  

A healthy diet includes plenty of Vitamin C that will help keep gums looking and feeling their healthiest. Foods rich in Vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges
  • Guava
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwis
  • Bell peppers 
  • Potatoes 

Should Any Foods Be Avoided for Optimal Dental Health? 

While it’s acceptable to eat unhealthy food in moderation, sugar is one of the most common dietary culprits of cavities. This is because sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth that produce acid. This acid then attacks the minerals in tooth enamel and forms small holes, otherwise known as cavities. Sugar can also feed another type of bacteria that forms plaque. This also leads to cavities.

Believe it or not, drinking 1-2 sugar-sweetened beverages can increase cavities by 31%.

Even more, by consuming large quantities of sugar, individuals are also at a higher risk of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. Since studies have found a positive association between obesity and periodontitis, it is always a good idea to cut back on daily refined sugar intake. This especially includes the sticky sugar products that easily get stuck in the nooks and crannies of teeth. 

For optimal oral hygiene, foods and beverages with large quantities of sugar should be consumed seldomly. This includes: 

  • Candy
  • Baked goods
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Energy drinks

The Bottom Line: Well-Fueled Bodies Lead To Beautiful Smiles

Healthy eating is one of the simplest preventative measures when it comes to gum disease, cavities, and other unwanted oral health conditions. Despite its critical importance, changing nutritional habits alone is not enough to avoid gum disease. However, it is the ideal addition to excellent oral hygiene and regular check-ups with a dental professional.” 

“Changing nutritional habits alone is not enough to avoid gum disease. However, it is the ideal addition to excellent oral hygiene and regular check-ups with a dental professional.”

Excellent Periodontal Care from Central Texas Periodontics

When an individual’s oral health is negatively impacted by their dietary choices, Central Texas Periodontics offers unmatched gum disease treatment. The team of expert periodontists creates a personalized periodontal disease treatment plan for clients at the various periodontal disease stages. 

To explore the wide range of periodontal services and implant procedures available, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at any of their locations today!