Our oral health is closely linked to our overall health. Poor oral health can lead to other health issues and vice versa. If you’re concerned about your oral health, these simple lifestyle changes can positively impact your mouth health and your overall health.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A well-balanced diet is good for you and your mouth health. Sugary foods like candy and baked goods can lead to tooth decay. Sugar can even be hiding in foods like pasta sauce and breakfast cereal. It’s best to avoid sugar when you can, as sugar feeds the bacteria in our mouths, producing acid that causes cavities and tooth decay.
If you need a sweet treat, try and avoid sticky foods, as they stick to teeth and amplify the negative effects of sugar. When possible, choose foods with artificial sweeteners over sugar. Artificial sweeteners don’t feed bacteria like natural sugar does, so it doesn’t lead to tooth decay. Fruit is another good option, as the water and fibre fruit contains helps to dilute the decay-causing acid that comes with sugar intake.
Get Enough Vitamins & Minerals
It’s no secret that a balanced diet is beneficial for your health, but eating healthy is great for your teeth and gums too. Nutrients like calcium, potassium, omega-3’s, and vitamins D, K, A, and C all play a major role in mouth health. Calcium and phosphorous are particularly beneficial for remineralizing teeth and keeping them strong and healthy.
To get enough of these vitamins and minerals, make sure you’re including these foods in your diet:
- Dairy products
- Leafy greens
- Cold-water fish like salmon
Cut Back on Pop & Sugary Drinks
Just like sugary foods, pop and other sugar-filled drinks can cause cavities and tooth decay. In addition to the sugar they contain, people often sip them slowly, prolonging your teeth’s exposure to the sugar.
Pop can be especially damaging due to the acid and carbonation. Other drinks like fruit juice and sports drinks aren’t much better, however. While they might seem healthier, these drinks still contain lots of sugar. It’s best to leave these beverages as an occasional treat and reach for water when you’re thirsty instead.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water, especially water with fluoride, can help promote mouth health. Drinking water helps to rinse away the bacteria and acid in your mouth that causes tooth decay. It also keeps your mouth moist, preventing bacteria build-up.
If you want to get even more benefits, rinse your mouth with water after every meal, especially after eating sugary foods. This will help to remove the sugary food particles that cause tooth decay from your mouth.
Avoid Tobacco & Alcohol
Tobacco products can negatively impact your oral health. Not only do they cause yellowing and staining of your teeth, but tobacco products can dramatically increase your risk of oral disease. Smoking or chewing tobacco increases your chance of developing gum disease and oral cancer. In fact, most oral cancers are linked to tobacco use.
Alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of oral cancer. The more you drink, the greater your risk. Additionally, alcohol use over time can dry out your mouth by reducing saliva flow. Reduced saliva flow can contribute to worsening tooth decay and increased risk of infection and gum disease.
See Your Dentist Regularly
One of the best things you can do for your dental health is to see the dentist regularly. An exam and cleaning twice a year is important for your oral health and your overall health.
Not only is it an opportunity for a thorough cleaning of your teeth, but it’s also an opportunity for your dentist to catch health issues early. From finding cavities to detecting oral cancer, a dental exam helps keep your mouth healthy.
If it’s been more than 6 months since your last dentist visit, book an appointment today. Your dental health will thank you for it.