A healthy diet and good nutrition are essential for good oral health and overall health.
How do the foods and beverages I consume affect my oral health?
Each time you eat or drink anything with sugar, the bacteria already present in your mouth and sugar combine to produce harmful acids thattack the teeth for at least 20 minutes. After repeat attacks, teeth are susceptible to tooth decay. Soda, whether it is regular soda containing sugar or diet sugar-free soda, is high in acid content and contributes to the decalcification and erosion of enamel.
Do I need to toss everything from my pantry that contains sugar?
No. Almost everything, including vegetables, contains some form of sugar, and many of these foods offer important nutrients key to a balanced diet. Read the labels on foods and beverages and reduce the amount you consume that contain added sugars, such as soda, candy and cookies.
What can I do to maintain a balanced diet and good oral health?
PDA offers the following tips to help maintain a balanced diet:
- Eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups (grains, dairy, fruits, vegetables and meat/poultry/fish).
- Keep snacking to a minimum. If you are hungry between meals, choose nutritious snacks over snacks that are high in sugar.
- Instead of soda, choose beverages that hydrate and contribute to good health, such as water. Drinking eight to 12 cups of water a day is important and consuming optimally fluoridated water helps prevent tooth decay.
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily to remove plaque, the sticky film of bacteria, which gets stuck between the teeth and gums.
- Schedule regular checkups with the dentist at least every six months.
PDA's Kids' Corner: Good Nutrition
Stop the Pop
American Dental Association: Diet and Dental Health
WITF Radio Smart Talk - Dr. Bill Spruill, former PDA president