Most people know that a nutritious diet is essential to maintaining good overall health. Poor nutritional choices can contribute to a wide range of dental problems, such as the development of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health conditions. According to the CDC, approximately 90 percent of adults in the U.S. have at least one cavity. About 50 percent show signs of gum disease. A poor diet has been directly associated with an increased risk of oral diseases.
Ways Diet Affects Your Oral Health
The food and beverages you consume impact the mouth in more ways than you’d think. Here’s a look at a few ways that your diet can affect your dental health and wellness:
1. Tooth Decay
Each time you consume a sugary treat, you are at risk of developing tooth decay. The natural bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars and create harmful acids that eat away at tooth enamel. If you constantly snack on sugary foods and drinks, or if you fail to follow a proper oral hygiene regimen, you could develop tooth decay.
A cavity refers to a hole in the tooth created from acids that eat away at the tooth structure. Sugary foods can become trapped between the teeth, causing a cavity that grows larger over time. Once a cavity develops, you may notice symptoms like tooth pressure, tooth pain, pain when biting down, or the creation of a hole in the affected tooth.
3. Gum Health
Poor nutrition can also affect the health of your gums. Diets high in sugars and carbohydrates can lead to plaque formation and gum inflammation. Over time, this inflammation can cause gum recession, tooth root exposure, or an increased risk of gum disease. Your gums may start to bleed easily, you may experience red or swollen gums or even persistent bad breath.
What Foods are Bad for Your Oral Health?
Now that you know the ways that diet can affect your oral health, it’s important to learn what foods are considered “bad” for your teeth and gums. To maintain good oral health, limit your intake of the following foods and beverages:
- Candies and Other Sweets – Surgery treats can result in a buildup of bacteria, which can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Soft Drinks – Soda pop contains acids that are harmful to tooth enamel. Even sodas that are diet or sugar-free can be harmful to teeth.
- Coffee – Coffee contains caffeine which can be highly addictive. When you add sugar to your coffee, you could be doing further damage to your health by affecting your teeth.
- Wine – White and red wines contain erosive acids that soften your tooth enamel over time, leaving your smile vulnerable to decay.
- Citrus Juices and Fruits – Citrus juices and citrus fruits contain a high level of acids that can wear away tooth enamel.
- Pasta Sauce – Tomato-based pasta sauces are highly acidic and can feed bacteria in the mouth, contributing to cavities.
- Sports Drinks – While it’s tempting to reach for a sports drink after a hard workout, these beverages can be sugary and acidic.
- Dried Fruit – Despite the name, dried fruit is not always a healthy snack. Dried fruit often contains a high concentration of sugar, as well as a gummy-like consistency which makes it stick to your teeth.
Contact Bonham Dental Arts
Many people don’t give much thought to how their diet affects their teeth and gums. However, extensive research has shown that certain foods and drinks can contribute to tooth staining, tooth decay, gum disease, and countless other oral health issues.
Eating a healthy, along with regular visits to your dentist, can help you maintain good oral health. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with an experienced dental professional, contact Bonham Dental Arts.