Your mouth says a lot about what you’re eating, and your dentist may be the first person to spot potential nutritional imbalances. Nutritional deficiencies limit the body’s ability to fight disease, and in many cases the mouth is the first line of defense. Healthy gum tissue and saliva are crucial in fending off invading pathogens.
Improving Your Oral Health
Patients can improve their oral health and reduce the risk of periodontal (gum) disease by eating a well-balanced diet. Vitamin and mineral supplements also can help preserve periodontal health and boost overall health and well-being. Milk, which contains high levels of calcium, is particularly important for oral health and strong teeth and bones.
A Well-Balanced Diet
To promote oral health, eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. So when you snack, avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt and cheese.
Always keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth, supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.