Diet and dental health
All kind of foods that we eat first come in contact with our teeth and gums. It is a very obvious fact that food affects teeth as teeth get exposed to various acidic, alkaline, sweet, bitter components of food throughout the day.
Some components of food act as dental health booster whereas some show deleterious effects on the teeth and gums. So, this explains that your diet and dental health are directly linked. Does this make you scratch your head and think what kind of food is best suited for a healthy mouth?
When it comes to our health, most people agree that we are better off today than our ancestors were because we have experienced the benefits of antibiotics, timely vaccinations and access to food, shelter and clothing. However, this doesn’t hold true when it comes to dental health.
People are adopting new eating habits which are different from what our ancestors used to follow and this has shown a significant rise in dental problems.
Why cavities were rare?
Our ancestors had a much simpler agriculture-based lifestyle. People mainly survived on fruits, vegetables and nuts. Their diets consisted of low-sugar, high-fibre and nutrient-rich foods. Such kind of raw diet which was free of sticky, refined food and carbohydrates did not prove to be harmful to teeth and gums, in fact, they enhanced the overall oral health. We dentist in Rajkot always advice to keep your diet more natural and less refined. (That’s why an animal does not get tooth cavity!!!)
Dump the junk
Unfortunately, making good food choices has always remained an under-discussed topic in dental offices which has led people believe that they can eat whatever they want, as long as they brush their teeth twice a day. However, that’s not true.
Along with your overall health, your dental health too is affected by junk food. Brushing and flossing are not enough to prevent the reactions that are brought about by junk food. Sugar is hiding in all sorts of modern foods that have long been promoted as healthy.
Most carbohydrates are actually turned into sugar, which begins to explain why the modern diet is causing widespread tooth decay. Our mouths are filled with hundreds of bacteria. Some bacteria are beneficial to our oral health, but certain sorts of harmful bacteria actually prey on sugar.
Thus, the sugar within the foods we consume powers them, leading to the assembly of acids that destroy enamel. It has been proved that foods such as chips, bread, pasta or pizza can be as harmful to the teeth as candy or chocolate.
Cut the sticky starch!
As we step into our teenage, all those cravings for the burger, pizza and French fries start. All these foods are undoubtedly delicious to taste but they have one more thing in common which is bad for your teeth, and that is Starch!! Starch is sticky in nature and tends to stick to the teeth for a long time if not brushed off immediately after eating.
Sticky starch is a feast for the bacteria inside the mouth, resulting in large bacterial concentrations on the teeth. This leads to infection and eventually tooth decay. Bacterial load also gives rise to an accumulation of plaque and tartar which causes gum infection (gingivitis). Now would you still crave that burger?
Extra sugar is dangerous!
Bacteria in the mouth get pulled towards sugar like a magnet. Certain kinds of processed and packed foods have additional sugar content and preservatives in them. These foods do more harm to natural teeth than unprocessed and naturally available foods like fruits and vegetables.
Candies and chocolates also have heavy sugar content and added preservatives which could be dangerous for your teeth if consumed regularly. They can eventually turn your teeth with black spot and may you need a dental filling.
So, keep a watch on the extra sugar that you intake throughout the day to protect teeth from decay.
Sip water, not cola
A common drink at every party is a carbonated drink coupled with all sorts of fast food items. Carbonated beverages like soda and cola are harmful to your teeth since they cause damage to the enamel.
Carbonated beverages are highly acidic in nature and they contain added sugar as well. In simple terms, they play a role in eroding and wearing down the enamel and the added sugar makes the teeth more prone to catch tooth decay.
Erosion of enamel makes the teeth sensitive to hot and cold foodstuffs. So, watch out before you pick that glass of cola served during a party. Instead, choose to pick a glass of water as it helps in keeping you hydrated and also cleans up the food debris from your mouth from time to time.
Fast food is bad
All the fast-food companies are in a competition of delivering the best-tasting food to their customers. In this race, they sometimes forget to take health and nutrition into consideration. To make the food more tasty and delicious they tend to add excessive amounts of salt and sugar to food.
This makes the food stick to the teeth for longer periods of time, thus resulting in tooth decay and cavities. Fortunately, fast food if consumed occasionally does not cause harm to your teeth. Dental problems only arise when their consumption is too frequent like on a daily basis.
It is beneficial to make a slight shift in our diet and go back to the one that our grandparents used to follow. Maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding all foods that are high in sugar as much as possible is going to take you a long way in keeping your teeth strong.
So, make smart food choices by opting for nutritious snacks over unhealthy ones. Follow all oral hygiene protocols and do not forget to visit your partner in oral care- your dentist, twice a year.
Dr Divyesh patel(Dental Surgeon) worked as a full-time chief Dentist at a private dental clinic in Rajkot, Gujarat, India, named sanjivani dental clinic he has trained in the field of Implant Dentistry, Aesthetic Dentistry and full mouth rehabilitations and has incorporated fine details of treatment planning and technique sensitive procedures in the day to day management.