How Does Your Diet Affect Your Teeth and Gums?

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What you eat and drink can affect your oral health. At Parker West Dental Associates, Dr. Tim Nguyen helps his patients in Plano, TX with healthy eating guidelines that promote healthy teeth and gums. During a dental exam, he examines you to look for potential indicators that you may need to change your diet. Every time that you eat something that is acidic or high in sugar, your teeth and gums are under attack. The sugar reacts with bacteria found in plaque and produces acids that erode the enamel. This can lead to tooth sensitivity. Also, a balanced diet helps to prevent gum disease.

Foods and beverages that cause tooth decay

Tooth decay damages teeth and leads to fillings and, in severe cases, extractions. Decay happens when sugar reacts with bacteria in the plaque on your teeth. This forms an acid that attacks the teeth and destroys the enamel. This can lead to holes on the tooth and a cavity forming. Regular dental exams and routine dental cleanings at Parker West Dental Associates can help detect these dental issues early on before they need more costly or extensive dental procedures.

Sugary and processed foods and beverages eat at the tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay. This makes it important for patients throughout Plano, TX to eat healthy so they can have healthy teeth and gums. A well-balanced diet with healthy snacks is optimal. Not only can sugary foods lead to tooth decay, but it also increases your risk for obesity and heart attack.

Understanding dental erosion

Acidic foods and beverages cause erosion. Erosion is the gradual dissolving of tooth enamel. The lower the pH of something, the more acidic it will be. Red wine, vinegar, soda, orange and grapefruit juice, and milk all are erosive beverages. Carbonated drinks contribute to decay and dissolve the enamel of the teeth quickly.

During a dental exam, Dr. Nguyen can determine if your diet is too acidic and affecting your oral health, just by examining your teeth and gums. Coffee, tea, and wine all erode your natural tooth enamel and stain it too. Be sure to drink a lot of water when you have these beverages as it helps to wash away harmful acids.

Most healthy foods for dental health

Dr. Nguyen suggests an anti-inflammatory diet as it has been proven to be connected to fewer incidences of tooth loss and healthier gums overall. Foods that are high in fat can lead to inflammation, so choosing healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, or fatty fish is better for your health.

Healthy snacks are alkaline foods that have low acid content. Some examples of these snacks include:

  • Crackers

  • Nuts

  • Cheese

  • Raw vegetables

  • Yogurt (no sugar or low sugar options)

Ultimately, a healthy diet combined with an efficient at-home oral hygiene routine can help ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.

How often should I brush my teeth?

When it comes to maintaining your dental health, oral hygiene is a must. It’s important that you brush your teeth right before bed and at least one other time during the day with fluoride toothpaste. Ultimately, brushing at night is important as your saliva flow slows down during the night time, and this can increase your risk of tooth decay if any food particles are left behind.

Also, brushing immediately after eating foods or beverages with sugar or acids will contribute to the wearing away of the enamel. Dr. Nguyen suggests that you wait at least an hour after eating these foods before you brush.

Learn more about foods to eat for healthy gums and teeth

During regular dental exams and routine dental cleanings at Parker West Dental Associates, Dr. Tim Nguyen can discuss your diet with his patients to offer helpful tips on foods for optimal oral health. To schedule a dental examination today to learn more about foods to eat for healthy teeth, call our Plano, TX dental office.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.