Our teeth are important but many of us take them for granted. However, oral health problems can cost more than the loss of our teeth or the occasional cavity.
Infections in the gums (gingivitis) can lead to serious complications, as well as ongoing pain.
Eating can become painful and difficult as well. Improving our dental health can prevent these future problems and eating right is one way to move in that direction.
Foods to Eat
Although we sometimes separate dental health from the rest of our physical health, eating right is important for both. In fact, having a healthy and balanced diet is one of the keys to maintaining good dental health for life.
If you have children, it’s never too early to help them establish the types of eating habits that will benefit them later on. For example, you should always eat balanced meals that include foods from all of the groups: breads and grain, fruits, vegetables, meat, protein, and dairy.
One bad eating habit is snacking. Not only can this cause us to pack on the extra pounds but it’s bad for our dental health, too.
Did you know that eating a food that contains sugar will release acids that attack our teeth for 20 minutes? If that’s surprising, you might be shocked by all of the foods we eat that contain sugar, including milk and fruit.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an apple. Instead, have that apple as part of your meal. During the meal, you’ll produce more saliva which can wash away the acids and other debris more effectively. If you do need a snack, be sure to pick something like raw vegetables or cheese which is nutritious.
Keeping your mouth hydrated is also an important part of good dental health. Just as saliva helps rinse out your mouth, so does water.
However, water is also important because it keeps the body working correctly and helps maintain a good balance of acids in your mouth. You should be drinking several glasses of water daily. Remember that sweetened sodas and juices are not water.
Another way to improve dental health is to chew sugar-free gum after meals. The gum causes you to produce more saliva which can help clean out your mouth better. When combined with a routine of flossing and brushing, chewing sugarless gum can be a great step towards better dental health.