Your lifestyle greatly affects your teeth and gums — for good or for bad. Americans don’t smoke as much as the rest of the world, which is a good thing for our oral (and overall) health. But we do love simple carbs and other things that aren’t so great for our smiles. Is your diet impacting your tooth and gum health without you realizing it? We are what we eat, after all, and the same applies to your mouth. Follow these tips from your dentist in New Braunfels to enjoy better oral health for years to come!
#1: Quit Smoking
If you are one of the remaining people who still smoke, it’s really time to quit. Tobacco use is a leading cause of tooth loss and gum disease, which has been linked to a number of serious health conditions. Oral cancer is also closely tied to smoking and other forms of tobacco use. Talk to your doctor about quitting if you’ve tried and haven’t been successful. For the good of your oral and overall health, kick the habit as soon as possible.
#2: Eat a Balanced, Nutritious Diet
You know what you eat greatly affects how you feel from day to day, but have you considered that the nutrients you are (or aren’t) receiving through your food greatly affect your oral health, too? Eating a diet that’s full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy will ensure that you’re receiving all the nutrients you need to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Dark, leafy greens and calcium-rich nuts and dairy items are all especially good for the mouth.
#3: Stick to Whole Grains
Refined grains are the ones that have been modified to taste better or to last longer on the shelf. Think white bread, pasta, and many breakfast cereals. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these modifications strip away nutrition. And when consumed, refined grains affect the delicate pH balance of the saliva, too. The next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure you choose the pasta, bread, and other items that say “whole” grain. That means you (and your mouth) will benefit from every part of the complex grain.
#4: Remember to Hydrate
A healthy mouth is one that stays well hydrated with pure, clean H2O. When you drink water throughout the day, your mouth is able to produce plenty of saliva, which washes away food particles and bacteria — naturally. Toss a reusable water bottle in your bag to remind yourself to drink throughout the day.
(Extra tip: It’s not only water that keeps your mouth a saliva-producing machine. Pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth after and between meals to make sure your oral tissues stay hydrated and healthy.)
#5: And Visit the Dentist!
Ok, this one isn’t really a nutrition tip, but it’s equally important for continued oral health. Make sure you visit your dentist every six months for a preventive checkup and cleaning. These regular appointments keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean, and allow us to catch problems early, while they’re easiest to correct. When was your last trip to Comal Dental? If it’s been longer than six months, request an appointment today.