The truism “You are what you eat” applies to all areas of your body, including your mouth. As any dentist will tell you, proper nutrition is very important to your oral health. We encourage our patients to be aware of how anything they put into their mouth will impact it.
Foods that Support Oral Health
Your teeth and gums have nutritional needs just like the rest of your body. To meet those needs, be sure you are getting enough of these key nutrients:
- Calcium. This mineral is important to the development and maintenance of strong teeth. It’s also good for your bones. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, yogurt, almonds, green leafy vegetables and canned salmon.
- Phosphorus. Also good for strong teeth, phosphorus is found in eggs, dairy products, lean meat and fish.
- Vitamin C. Foods like citrus fruits, peppers, spinach, potatoes and tomatoes contain vitamin C and promote healthy gums.
Foods to Avoid
The foods that you don’t eat, or eat in moderation, are just as important as those you do. For example, foods high in sugar, starch and carbohydrates contribute to the production of plaque acids in the mouth. Those acids can damage tooth enamel, which opens the door to cavity formation.
In some cases, the positive contribution that a food makes to oral health offsets the negatives. Fruits, milk and some vegetables contain sugar or starches, for instance. But, they also contain important nutrients. The key is finding the right balance. And, of course, things like soda and candy, which have virtually no nutritional value, are best eliminated altogether.
Practices to Avoid
While they aren’t related to nutrition, there are some practices that your dentist would like to see you avoid as part of supporting oral health. For example, crushing exceptionally hard foods. If a food can’t be chewed with moderate pressure, it probably shouldn’t be chewed at all. And, other than the occasional stick of sugar-free gum, items that aren’t food should never be chewed. This includes things like the end of pens, fingernails, etc.
The Many Ways to a Healthier Mouth
At our dentist office, we know that brushing, flossing and regular cleanings are just part of the overall oral health equation. So, we also encourage our patients to eat right and treat their mouths kindly! To make an appointment with Dr. Steinbach or Dr. Van Gorden, call 970-279-5647 or connect with us online at elevatewillits.com.
We’ve proudly provided comprehensive dental care to Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and surrounding Colorado areas for 25 years.