Our diets are one of the main reasons we encounter teeth problems. They are the second leading cause of tooth decay and a variety of illnesses – after poor oral hygiene routines. Today we are going to look at our diets, how they affect our teeth and what you can do to avoid these issues.
What Your Mouth Needs
Your oral health needs lots of vitamins and minerals in order to remain healthy (as does the rest of your body).
The most important vitamin for your oral health is undoubtedly calcium. Calcium keeps your teeth enamel and jaw bones healthier as they are predominantly made of calcium. Good sources of calcium are milk, cheese, beans and kale.
You also need a good supply of Iron, zinc, magnesium and Vitamins A, B3, b2, b12, c and d. Deficiencies in these vitamins can lead to a wide variety of problems including mouth sores, bleeding gums, bad breath and tooth loss.
The key to getting all of this is to have a well-balanced diet with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. You should make sure you eat your five a day and that you are conscious of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
How much saliva you produce and what the saliva is constituted from is vitally important to your oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s natural cleaning agent and helps fight plaque and bad breath. Drinking water, over any other drink, is the best way to encourage saliva in your mouth without exposing them to unnecessary sugars. At the same time Vitamin A promotes healthy saliva flow so get plenty of sweet potatoes, melon and spinach.
What Your Mouth Does Not Need
Yes, we’ve been telling you this one for years but sugar really is public enemy number one. Sugary drinks and foods are causing untold numbers of cavities in our teeth. Sugar tastes so nice as it has, evolutionarily, been so rare in our diets and we do need sugars. However, now it is in everything and it is really bad for us. Aside from the creation of cavities large sugar intakes also drastically increase your risk of diabetes. Diabetes, in turn, increases your risks of bleeding gums and tooth loss. Try to limit your sugar intake to six cues a day or less. Refrain from sugary drinks and don’t snack too often.
Foods with a high starch content such as bread and crisps tend to leave more acid to build up on your teeth. Whilst starchy foods are an essential part of our diet they can do a lot of harm if we don’t brush after eating them. Make sure that you brush regularly to avoid starch causing plaque and cavities to form.
Teeth Staining Food and Drink
Teeth staining is not normally an oral health issue but for many people, it is an aesthetic issue. To avoid teeth staining you will need to avoid or limit your intake of certain foods and drinks. In particular tea, coffee and red wine will leave tannin stains on your teeth. When it comes to food anything with excessive colouring – such as curry – can cause teeth staining over time if consumed too heavily. Moderation is again the key here to keeping your whites white.
This article was written by Alex Mungo. A keen health writer who currently works for bdental based in Islington in London.