Diet and your dental health

Diet and your dental health

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What you eat has a big impact
on your overall health, so it’s no surprise that your diet
also affects your dental health. Nutrients found in fruits, vegetables,
legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to
fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect
your teeth and gums. Some foods actually help defend
against tooth decay in special ways. Recent studies have shown that fresh cranberries can help prevent bacteria from forming plaque. Calcium-fortified juices, milk
and other dairy products are rich in calcium
and vitamin D, which promotes healthy teeth and bones,
and reduces the risk for tooth loss. Cheese unleashes a burst of calcium that mixes
with plaque and sticks to your teeth. This protects your teeth from the acid that causes decay and helps rebuild tooth enamel on the spot. Crisp fruits and raw vegetables,
like apples, carrots and celery, help clean plaque from the teeth
and freshen breath. You may already know that cavity-causing bacteria feed on the sugars in soda, chocolate milk and candy. Sugar is converted to acid, which attacks
tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. Did you also know that
acidic foods and drinks, such as carbonated beverages,
citrus fruits and juices, wine, pickles and honey, can cause tooth enamel
to wear away, making teeth sensitive,
cracked and discolored? A diet that promotes good oral health is
not just about the foods you eat or avoid. When and how you eat them
is equally important. Foods that take a long time to chew
or that you hold in your mouth, such as cough drops, cause damage because they hold sugar
against teeth longer than other foods. Instead of snacking on sugary, carbohydrate-rich
or acidic foods throughout the day, eat these foods just during meal times to minimize
the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acid. Regular brushing and flossing
can help keep your teeth healthy. If you don’t have
a toothbrush handy, chewing sugarless gum that contains xylitol
can help reduce plaque and fight cavities. Chewing stimulates saliva,
which helps keep teeth clean, while xylitol prevents the growth
of bacteria that cause cavities. Following these good practices will help
keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime.

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