Eating a well-balanced diet that’s high in nutrients is good for every part of your body – including your teeth and gums.  In honor of March as National Nutrition Month, the staff at ZDental would like to tell you more about how your diet can affect your oral health and suggest some foods you can add to (or subtract from) your diet to improve the health of your teeth and gums.

Calcium and Protein – The Building Blocks of a Healthy Mouth

They say milk does a body good, and they’re right!  Not only is milk high in calcium that builds healthy teeth and bones, it also contains protein that strengthens tooth enamel.  Of course, milk isn’t the only food that will impart these benefits, so if you’re focused on your oral health, try selecting foods that are high in protein or calcium, or both.  Dairy products like cheese and yogurt are excellent sources of both; just be sure to choose varieties without much added sugar for best results.  If you are lactose intolerant or you don’t consume dairy products, calcium-fortified nut milks are a good substitute as are soybeans, tofu, leafy greens including kale, bok choy & collard greens, or canned fish that contain bones (sardines are a good example).

Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables

Not only are fruits and vegetables good for your overall wellness, they’re also great for your oral health.  Chewing on your favorite fruits and vegetables stimulates saliva production, which slightly raises the pH level in your mouth and washes away bacteria on teeth and gums.  Not only that, but the fibrous strands of cellulose material found in fruits and vegetables like celery, apples, and carrots can scrub plaque from your teeth and stimulate the gums to make them stronger and healthier.

Avoid Sugar

Consuming too much sugar isn’t just bad for your body; it’s even worse for your teeth.  When you eat sugary foods, that sugar coats the surfaces of your mouth, giving bacteria a warm, moist, sugary environment where they can thrive.  As these bacteria grow and reproduce, they create harmful byproducts that can eat away at your tooth enamel and damage your gums.  They also calcify to create harmful tartar on the teeth and around the gums that can weaken enamel and put stress on the gums.  Eventually this condition can progress into gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease) that causes tooth loss and other issues.  Sugary foods like candy, chocolate, soft drinks, and sweetened breakfast cereals are obvious choices to avoid, but even fruit, yogurt, and juices can contain significant amounts of sugar.  For best results, read your nutrition information carefully and always brush your teeth after eating sugary foods.

When you have a healthy diet, it creates a cascade effect that benefits every system in your body.  In addition to healthy habits like brushing, flossing, and using mouth wash every day, your diet is one of the cornerstones of a healthy mouth.  For more advice about a healthy diet for strong teeth and gums, check out the American Dental Association’s guidelines, and don’t forget to call your nearest ZDental location in New Jersey and the Philadelphia area any time you need dental care like routine cleanings, dental surgery, and cosmetic dentistry in Vernon, NJ.  Check out our contact page to find the location closest to you!