You know your body needs proper nutrition to stay healthy and to fight disease, and it is the same story for your mouth. Although poor nutrition might not directly cause dental disease, if your diet doesn’t contain enough nutrients, you will be less able to fight infections, including gum disease. It is thought that gum disease can progress more quickly in people who don’t eat well, and the first signs of poor nutrition can often show up in your dental health and will most likely be identified by your dentist in Whitby during your check-up.
Lots of People like to Snack More Frequently
It’s not always easy to fit in a healthy diet, especially if you have a busy lifestyle and often it’s simpler and quicker to grab snacks high in sugars and starches for a quick burst of energy. There’s also an increasing trend towards eating smaller meals more frequently, and while this might keep your energy levels high, it can harm your teeth.
What Happens to Your Teeth When Your Snack Choices Aren’t Tooth Friendly?
Whenever you eat foods that are high in sugars or starches, it increases acid production in your mouth. The bacteria living in your mouth use these foods for energy, producing acid and toxins as a by-product. Over time, acid weakens the tooth’s outer layer of enamel, eventually causing cavities. The reason why acid causes cavities is because it removes some essential minerals from your tooth surface, softening the enamel.
After eating something sugary or starchy, acidity levels in your mouth remain high for at least half an hour afterward. As acidity levels decrease, some of these minerals are redeposited back into your tooth enamel, but not all, and repeated exposure to acid in the mouth eventually erodes your tooth enamel and the dentin underneath which is considerably softer than enamel. Because these acids do soften your tooth enamel, it’s best to delay brushing your teeth for half an hour to an hour after consuming sugary, starchy or acidic foods. Delaying brushing gives your tooth enamel time to re-harden. When you brush softened tooth enamel, it increases the damage.
Sometimes Sugars Can Be Hidden in ‘Healthy’ Foods
It’s estimated the average Canadian eats approximately 40 kg of sugar annually, and it’s a significant cause of poor oral health. Foods that can contribute to poor oral health include obviously sugary snacks such as cakes and cookies and other sweet treats. However, often snack foods can seem to be healthy but contain quite a bit of hidden sugar. Culprits include granola bars and raisins and other dried fruits, and fruit juice. Other beverages that are bad for your teeth include regular pop and diet pop. Even though diet pop may not contain any sugar, it does contain acid that will harm your teeth.
Choosing Healthier Snacks for Teeth
If you do like to snack, opt for healthier foods that will help your teeth and gums, and your general health. It’s best to choose snacks and drinks that are low in sugars and which contain lots of nutrients. Good choices include plain yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and hard cheese. Hummus can be enjoyed with naan bread or raw vegetables, and of course, whole fruit is great for you. Other good choices include nuts and seeds. Good preventative dental care in Oshawa is also essential!
Here at Margolian Dentistry, we recommend regular dental check-ups and dental cleanings, and our experienced team is always here to help you improve your oral care, or we can offer some advice about choosing a tooth friendly diet. Also, our dentist in Ajax can assess your general dental health, identifying other factors that could affect your oral health.