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Your diet not only helps to build a healthy body, it can directly affect the health of your teeth and gums. Acids created by oral bacteria can potentially destroy the hard tissues in the mouth, causing cavities and gum disease. If you have a low immune system due to poor diet, you are also more at risk for periodontal disease.

Sticky foods like candy and dried fruit can promote tooth decay, as the bacteria in your mouth comes into contact with sugar. The acid this creates can attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more.

Acidic foods and drinks can also soften tooth enamel over time, as repeated exposure to acid and sugar in soda (and canned teas) combine to erode enamel. Sipping soda all day, versus drinking it with meals, makes your mouth more susceptible to the harmful effects. Sipping it through a straw to limit the exposure on your pearly whites and rinse with water after you drink can also help restore balance.

Saliva helps to balance the acids in the mouth as well as protect the hard and soft oral tissues. Avoid a dry mouth by staying well-hydrated with water or even unsweetened green tea (which has healthful properties), and stimulate saliva production if needed by chewing sugarless gum.

Focus on eating a balanced diet that doesn’t eliminate food groups—grains, fruit, vegetables, meat and milk. You can get these from food or adding a vitamin and mineral supplement to your diet. Calcium helps make healthy teeth and bones, and vitamins C and D help teeth and gums as well. Vitamin C protects your gums by strengthening blood vessels and the connective tissue in your jaw that anchor the teeth, and helps reduces inflammation if you have gum disease.

Foods to Build a Healthy Body and Oral Health:

Calcium-rich foods: yogurt, milk, cheese, soybeans, tofu with calcium, white beans, broccoli, almonds and leafy greens like kale, bok choy, collard greens.

Vitamin D-rich foods: mackerel, wild salmon, sardines and herring, milk, soy milk, yogurt, and egg yolks.

Vitamin C-rich foods: oranges and juice, guava, bell peppers, grapefruit and juice, pineapple, strawberries, broccoli, kale, kidney beans, sugar snap peas and tomatoes, to name just a few.

Take good care of your oral health and your teeth and gums will take good care of you. To schedule an appointment or if you have any questions, we can be reached at 757-587-6399!