Dental News

Is Your Diet Hurting Your Oral Health?

September 4, 2015

Even a healthy diet can pose risks to your oral health if you aren’t careful.

Is Your Diet Hurting Your Oral Health?Most people realize that unhealthy eating habits—especially overindulging in sugary snacks—can put their oral health at risk. But did you know that some healthy eating habits could also present a problem? Consider these three examples.

Citrus Fruits

Because citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are high in Vitamin C, many people turn to these fruits as a healthy snack option. It’s certainly true that Vitamin C has plenty of health benefits—it helps the immune system, supports heart health, and can even help keep skin looking younger, among many other benefits. But, if you are not careful about how you are working citrus fruits into your diet, they could harm your oral health. Citrus is very acidic and can easily damage tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity or possibly even cavities. To help minimize the potential for your citrus snacks to cause acid erosion on your teeth, remember to follow your fruity snack with a glass of water to help rinse away the acid, and, whenever possible, brush your teeth about 30 minutes after eating citrus. You do not want to brush sooner because your toothbrush could actually damage the temporarily acid-softened enamel.

Dairy-Free Diet

Whether you are lactose intolerant, following a vegan diet, or simply trying to lose weight, you might opt for a dairy-free diet. If you do, bear in mind that you may not be getting the nutrients your body needs to build and maintain strong, healthy teeth. Specifically, you might be low on calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is the primary mineral teeth are made of, and Vitamin D is essential for making sure you get the most out of the calcium in your diet. Without a healthy amount of these nutrients, your teeth will not be able to repair themselves through the process of remineralization, and you may find yourself getting more cavities. If you do want to follow a dairy-free diet, just be sure that you eat enough dark, leafy greens or other foods that contain calcium, and spend some time outdoors each day to get Vitamin D from sunlight.

Gluten and Your Oral Health

There are two potential problems with eating lots of foods made from wheat and other grains. First of all, these foods are high in carbs, and carbs are actually a kind of sugar. The cavity-causing bacteria on your teeth will be just as happy to feed on the leftovers when you eat bread as when you eat candy. Secondly, if you are one of the 18 million Americans with a gluten sensitivity, eating gluten could actually harm your oral health. Research has shown that if gluten sensitive individuals do not follow a gluten-free diet, they could experience damage to their tooth enamel, tooth discoloration, canker sores, bad breath, and inflammatory gum disease.

Oral Health Issues? Visit the Dentist Now

Remember, it’s always better to treat oral health problems sooner rather than later. If you have any questions or doubts about your oral health, please make an appointment with one of our expert dentists today.

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