The Relationship between Oral Health and Nutrition
Your oral cavity begins at the lips and ends at the throat—which means that what you choose to eat can directly affect your oral health as well as it affects your overall health. Sugars, acids, and minerals can impact the quality of your gums and tooth enamels.
Signs of a healthy mouth
You aren’t truly healthy without good oral health. Although this statement may only be true to a certain extent, your teeth and gums are key indicators of overall health. So, what are some signs in your mouth that show your diet is well put together?
Your gums–or gingival tissues–and the supporting bone that holds your teeth are known as the ‘periodontium’. The gingiva usually varies in color and pattern between different people, but a healthy gingiva is firm, moist, not red nor swollen, and does not bleed when they’re brushed or flossed. It should also let out a neutral smell, not an offensive one.
It’s worth checking the tissues of the inner walls of your mouth as well. Your cheeks and tongue (and under it) should have no evidence of lumps, ulcers, spots, or unusual colors.
On the other hand, your teeth should be adapting to cold foods and drinks which indicates that your enamels are strong and functioning well. They should be opaque and smooth, and free from cracks, rounded edges, and signs of yellowing. If you find a tooth that appears to be wiggly, it may be a sign of weak or unhealthy gums.
Pink gums and white teeth aren’t just for a pretty smile, they are important at all stages of life because they support crucial human functions like breathing, speaking, and eating.
Nutrition and oral health
Besides a proper care routine and adequate dental check-ups, good oral health also depends on good nutrition. While your systemic health can have a more direct impact, poor diet habits can also lead to a plethora of teeth and gum complications such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and bad breath.
Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth as a result of leftover food particles left unremoved. It is usually a mixture of carbohydrates, saliva, and bacteria. When the bacteria feed off the plaque, they produce acids that can corrode your teeth’s enamel. A large number of bacteria harboring the plaque can also induce inflammation in your gums, leading to infections and gingivitis.
What to avoid
You don’t have to completely cut down all the foods we’re about to list below, but consuming in moderation and having a solid oral care routine can go a long way if you find them hard to ditch.
Refined carbs or sugars
Complex carbohydrates from bread, chips, or French fries break down into sugars. When the sugars linger in your mouth, bacteria feed off them and produce lactic acid which can quickly erode the enamel. White bread and hard candy are one of the worst causes of plaque as they tend to stick to the teeth easily, giving bacteria more time to create acid.
Believe it or not, the ‘sugar-free’ or ‘healthy’ sodas you see on grocery shelves still contain acid. Soft drinks being high in sugar is already a good reason for you to cut them off, but the acids can also soften your teeth' enamel–making them more susceptible to abrasion.
They’re refreshing and healthy but are also mighty acidic. While they’re rich in vitamins, they contain high amounts of citric acid that make your teeth’ enamel more vulnerable to cavities. Try drinking juice with a straw instead so that some of the acid bypass your teeth.
Acidic food and drinks
Other food and drinks containing high amounts of acid include red and white wine, coffee, pickles, and tomato sauce. They not only erode your teeth' enamel but also stain them. If you plan to brush your teeth after consuming them, make sure to wait for about 30 minutes to avoid excessive abrasion as your enamels are softened.
Healthy habits to maintain healthy enamel and gingival tissues
It can be hard to avoid your favorite soda or pasta dish, but there are simple habits you can practice to avoid plaque buildup and cavities.
Drink water regularly
Plain water is the best drink for your teeth, hands down. It cleans out most leftover food particles, neutralises acids, and fights dry mouth. Water with fluoride is an added advantage as it is necessary to strengthen the enamel and prevent cavities. Drink in between meals or in one sitting.
Consume enough fruits and vegetables
They are high in water and fiber which balances their sugar contents. They help stimulate saliva to break down acids and food particles, as well as keep the gingival tissues moist. These foods also contain essential vitamins to promote healthier teeth and gums.
Have a solid oral care routine
This goes without saying, but a consistent oral routine can really benefit you in the long run. A good routine should include products that are effective and do not contain harmful ingredients such as SLS, alcohol, parabens, triclosan, benzoates, or carrageenan to name a few.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day using Oradex’s Periodontal Toothpaste. Its pH alkaline formula helps neutralise enamel-eating acids and contains safe levels of fluoride for tooth remineralisation, while hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 rejuvenate the gingival tissues to reveal healthy, pink gums. It is free of harsh chemicals and contains no artificial flavors or colors.
To complement tooth brushing and elevate good oral health, rinse your mouth daily with Oradex’s alcohol-free Everyday Antiseptic Mouthwash. Soak, hold, and swirl in the mouth for 30 seconds to eliminate germs that cause dental plaque build-up thus preventing gum disease and bleeding gums.
What you eat and drink matters much more than you think when it comes to oral health. Adjunct healthy eating habits with the best of oral care today with Oradex.