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Food Choices and Their Effect on Your Oral Health
Food Choices and Their Effect on Your Oral Health

Food and drink fuels your day. Basic health aside, what and how you eat are also vital factors in your oral health. A healthy diet packed with nutrients can go a long way in helping you maintain good oral health.

 

On the other hand, a bad diet can hurt the health of your teeth and gums. Your smile may be the first to suffer! Unhealthy diets can stain or dim tooth enamel, which can be clearly visible on your front teeth where you eat and drink.

 

An unhealthy diet can also promote tooth decay and cause gum disease, so taking the time to be mindful of what you eat and drink can go a long way towards healthy teeth and gums.

 

Here are a few common things that can hurt your oral health.

 

 

·       Sugar loading

We all have a “sweet tooth” every now and then, but sugary foods and drink can create an unhealthy oral environment. The bacteria present in your mouth loves the sweet stuff and it reacts by releasing acids that promote tooth decay and other problems. The average American consumes up to 15 pounds of sugar a year! We love the stuff, but it doesn’t love us back.

 

 

·       Drinking too much of certain beverages:

Drinking too many soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks can impact your oral health. And you probably know that daily coffee and tea drinking can stain your tooth enamel. Regular cleanings can help if you can’t do without your morning coffee and evening tea. Finally, limit the amount of alcohol you drink; moderation is the key!

 

·       Snacking:

With our hectic, work-centered schedules, we may rely on snacks between meals to keep us going. But, chewy or sticky snacks, and even chewing gum may promote dental decay.

 

There’s another hazard with snacking: We are also unlikely to brush our teeth after an on-the-run snack. This further adds to potential problems down the road when we allow bacteria to collect between our teeth. A good piece of advice is to avoid sugary snacks and try to at least rinse out your mouth with water after snacking.

 

 

Are you more at risk?

 

Certain conditions and medications make keeping oral health more of a challenge:

 

·       Conditions such as diabetes and acid reflux may make keeping your oral health top-notch more of a challenge. Consult your dentist or physician to find out if any of your chronic conditions may also affect your oral health.

 

·       Medications

Ingredients in some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can make you more vulnerable to oral health problems. For example, antihistamines may dry your mouth, which can make you more likely to have oral health problems.

 

Remember, your meds are important! Just keep your dentist up to date about what you take.

 

What you can do:

 

·       Maintain a balanced, healthy diet and eat regular meals. Keep added sugars to a minimum, and avoid processed foods. Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Replace soft drinks with water.

 

·       Brush and clean often! Don’t let hours elapse between a meal and brushing your teeth.

 

·       Keep your dentist up to date with any changes in your health or meds, and most important, go in for your regular dental check-ups.

 

 

Sticking to good dental habits that include regular brushing and flossing, and regular check-ups, can help prepare you for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. For more information about maintaining your dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and you’re your smile healthy and bright all year long.

 


Healthy Snack Ideas for Oral Wellness
Healthy Snack Ideas for Oral Wellness

It’s mid-afternoon when it strikes – the snack craving. You may be feeling that afternoon slump at work, or maybe the kids have just come home from school and immediately set upon finding something good to eat. Whether you tend to reach for something salty, crunchy, savory, or sweet ­– do you know if your go-to snacks are good or bad for your oral health?

Packaged snack foods might hit the spot, but tend to be loaded with excess calories from fat, sodium, sugar, and a whole host of chemical additives that we usually try not to think about. In addition, processed foods are by and large devoid of nutrients. What if, by following a few simple guidelines, your snack choices could actually provide a healthful boost to your teeth and gums?

Here are our top recommendations for making the most out of snack time:

Eat Mineral-Rich Foods

Tooth enamel is made of minerals, most prominently in enamel are calcium and phosphorus. Great snacks that give a healthy dose of calcium and phosphorus are cheese, yogurt, almonds, eggs, tofu, and pumpkin seeds.

Eat Vitamin-Rich Foods

Vitamins are key to keeping calcium in the teeth and for keeping gums healthy. Did you know that the body needs vitamin D to maximize calcium absorption? Hard-boiled eggs and cheese are all great snack sources of vitamin D.

Vitamin C is key to reducing inflammation in the gums by strengthening blood vessels and preventing oxidative stress. Try reaching for citrus fruits, berries, dark leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, or peas to up your vitamin C intake.

Eat Foods with a High Water Content

Hydration is especially important to oral health. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and consuming foods that contain water help flush excess bacteria away and keep the tongue, cheeks, throat, and gums comfortably moist. Many foods that have a high water content make great snacks, including watermelon, oranges, grapes, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, and carrots.

Eats Food That Crunch

Raw, crisp fruits and vegetables not only satisfy a crunch craving, but gently polish the surface of the teeth, helping to remove plaque and tartar buildup. Keep reaching for those apples and celery sticks to get extra help fighting plaque.

Avoid Refined Sugars

White sugar is bad for your teeth because the sugar molecules adhere to the tiny bumps and ridges on the surface of the teeth, where bacteria can feed and proliferate when left unchecked. The harmful bacteria give off byproducts that create an acidic environment and wear down all the surfaces in the mouth. This can lead to all kinds of dental health issues such as cavities, weak enamel, increased sensitivity, abscesses, mouth sores, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth decay.

Too much bacteria also means bad breath! When you do indulge in sweets like candy, cake, or cookies, make sure to brush as soon as possible to prevent the sugar from clinging to the surface of the teeth.

Even when you're eating foods that are great for your teeth, it is still important to drink plenty of water to help neutralize acidity, brush morning and night, floss every day, and use either toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride to help protect and strengthen enamel.

Professional dental cleanings and check ups twice per year will help guarantee good dental (and overall) health. Regular dentist visits are key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums, as well as catching any issues before they get too serious.

Has it been a long time since your last dental visit? Call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479, or request an appointment online with one of our fantastic oral health specialists in El Portal, today.



Good Foods vs Bad Foods for Oral Health
Good Foods vs Bad Foods for Oral Health

A healthy smile doesn’t just look good, it’s good for you. Oral health plays a significant role in your overall health; in fact, researchers have found that people with oral diseases, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease, have a higher likelihood of  developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

So what can you do to improve your oral health and prevent this from happening?

Eat More: Fruit and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruit aren’t just good for your body; they are good for your teeth too. Fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber to help balance sugar content. They help clean your teeth and stimulate saliva production, which washes away harmful food particles.

Many fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, which has been shown to help prevent gum disease. Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach are an excellent choice for oral health, as they contain important bone-strengthening minerals including calcium and phosphorus, helping to protect tooth enamel.

Eat Less: Sugary Foods, Including Candy

Eating refined sugar in food of any form promotes tooth decay and gum disease, as sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth that produce tooth-destroying acid. The longer sugar is left on your teeth after you eat it, the greater your risk for cavities and other dental problems.

Eat More: Dairy Products

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt are high in calcium and phosphorus to help prevent tooth loss. These types of foods also contain a protein which can prevent tooth decay from acid-producing bacteria. Recent research has shown that dairy products can reduce tooth decay in addition to preventing it.

Eat Less: Starchy Foods

Starch can get trapped in between your teeth, becoming difficult to remove which in turn encourages cavities and gum disease. Consumption of high-starch foods such as white bread, cake, and chips should be reduced to protect your teeth.

Eat More: Proteins, Nuts, and Seeds

Proteins like meat (including poultry and fish), nuts, and seeds contain phosphorus to help protect your tooth enamel, and many of them also contain calcium to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Too much protein is not good for your body, so don’t overdo it.

Eat Less: Acidic Foods (and Drinks)

Foods with a high acid content, such as pickles, processed deli meats, and soda can be even more harmful than sugar. While occasionally indulging is not likely to cause any harmful effects, long-term daily consumption of acidic foods can destroy tooth enamel.

Of course, good oral health also includes regular professional dental checkups. Take control of your health by eating right and keeping regular dental appointments. Our team at El Portal Dental Group would love to help you reach your health goals – call us at (209)385-1479 or request an appointment online today.