Your nutrition habits can greatly impact the health of your mouth. The dentists at Fort Collins Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies are as concerned with your current dental health as they are your future dental health. By taking preventive steps early, you can avoid some of the most common dental issues and problems. Eating a balanced diet is important for your overall health as well as the health of your teeth. Certain food choices greatly impact the strength, color, appearance, and health of your gums and mouth. Regardless of your age, there are foods that supply essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to the stability and chemistry of your teeth. Educate yourself on how you can eat for a better smile today and tomorrow. Our Fort Collins dental team can help answer any questions you may have on nutrition and your teeth during one of your visits with us.
Diet and nutrition are not the only areas that can impact the health of your teeth. A Journal of Dentistry study in 2005 found that regular exercise lowers the risk of gum disease–when harmful bacteria invades your gums. Participants in the study who never smoked and who exercised regularly were 54% less likely to have gum disease compared to those who did not exercise. A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey also showed that partially active people, or those who exercise less than three times per week, were 33% less likely to have gum disease than those who reported no regular physical activity. Physically active people, or those who exercised three to five times a week, reported a 52% lower occurrence of gum disease than the inactive group. Stay active for good health. (Adults should strive for at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity each week.)
Healthy teeth start with healthy food choices. Here are some tooth-friendly foods to add to your diet and nutrition goals:
There is a long list of foods you should add to your diet for good teeth health and proper nutrition, and there is an equally long list of foods you should remove! Too many carbohydrates, sugar (from cake, cookies, candies, milk, and other sugary foods and beverages), and starches (pretzels, breads and potato chips) can cause tooth decay. How long carbohydrates remain on your teeth is the main factor that leads to tooth decay. Here are a list of foods to watch out for:
When considering your nutrition goals, remember, not ALL sugars are bad. “We actually need sugar; it’s our body’s preferred fuel,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “But we eat too damn much of it.” Natural occurring sugars found in fruits, some vegetables, and milk are perfectly healthy. It’s added sugar (sweeteners put in during processing and prep) that we need to moderate.Your body DOES need carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugar in your body. This sugar is essential for your body to create energy to survive. However, it is not necessary to include sugary foods or added sugars in the diet in order for your body to make energy. In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration recommended people over the age of 3 eat no more than 50 grams of sugar a day and it should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.
You can monitor the amount of sugars you are putting into your diet by making a habit of reading the food labels. Ingredients on food labels are listed according to weight so if sugar is high on the list, beware. Since bacteria in your mouth feeds off of carbohydrates, cutting down on sugar and other sources of simple carbohydrates that are easily fermentable can help reduce your cavity risk. Another tip for spotting sources of sugar—terms ending in “-ose” indicate a sugar ingredient.
Sugar substitutes (Splenda, Equal and Sunett, aspartame, erythritol, saccharin, sucralose, isomalt, sorbitol, acesulfame potassium and mannitol) have the appearance and taste of sugar but they don’t promote decay-causing acids in your mouth that erode your teeth.
The Fort Collins Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies team is here to help you obtain and retain optimum oral health. You can help us by incorporating healthy eating habits, good oral hygiene practices, scheduling regular in-office cleanings, and practicing the following to reduce your risk of cavities:
If you would like to know more about nutrition and what you can do to preserve your smile, or if you would like to make an appointment, call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-8425. You can also reach us after office hours by submitting a contact or appointment request online using the form below.