A balanced, nutritious diet is important for your health.
But your food choices also play a role in your dental health. Think of your mouth as being more than just the tool for eating– it’s the initial contact with the nutrients you’re consuming. If your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your oral health. Here’s some simple information to help you understand how your diet, and dental health work together.
The My Plate website from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition, Policy, and Promotion indicates individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, physical activity, and other health factors. But a general balanced and healthy diet should include:
- Fruits and vegetables: Combined, these should cover half your plate at meals.
- Grains: Half of the grains you eat should be whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
- Dairy: Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.
- Protein: Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Vary your protein choices to include eggs, beans, peas, and legumes. Eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week.
Considering these choices, the incidence of tooth decay related to what you eat and drink according to the American Dental Association, depends on:
- Form of the food—whether it’s liquid, solid, sticky or slow to dissolve.
- Sugary foods and beverages, how often you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages.
- Nutritional makeup of the food.
- Combination of the food you eat, and the order in which you eat it.
- Medical conditions you may have, such as gastrointestinal reflux and eating disorders, which can increase risk of cavities, and weaken teeth.
Simply choosing to eat well, along with brushing twice a day and flossing your teeth every day, can keep your mouth and body, happy and healthy.