How Does Your Diet Affect Your Dental Health?

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You probably know that drinking dark beverages and eating sugary foods can damage your teeth, but do you know there’s actually much more to it?

In fact, there are certain foods that can improve your dental health by helping to limit decay over time and there are other foods that can actually accelerate the level of decay, leading to caries (cavities), halitosis (bad breath), and a variety of other problems.


The Oral Systemic Connection (What You Need to Know)

According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, countless studies have demonstrated a link between poor oral health and systemic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more (click here to read the full article).

Obviously, what you put into your body has a significant impact on your overall health and well being, and since everything you eat passes through your mouth, it makes logical sense that a healthier diet will not only improve your dental health, but your overall health as well.

The bottom line— while a poor diet may lead to cavities and gum disease, it can also lead to serious health issues.

Since no one wants that, we’re going to give you some tips on which foods you should eat, which foods to avoid, and also weigh in on the whole organic debate. Let’s get started. Also, if you’re looking for a new dentist in the area, we have dental offices in West Babylon at Great South Bay and Patchogue at Gateway Plaza.


Which Foods You Should Eat

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When choosing a healthy “dental diet,” there are many delicious foods that are not only healthy for your teeth and gums, but also promote better overall health. This list probably won’t come as much of a shocker, but the key to eating more of these foods and less unhealthy foods is to integrate them into your daily life.

You can’t look at it as “dieting,” as that implies a short-term lifestyle change. For maximum results, you’ll need to reevaluate your relationship with food and realize that healthy food can help you avoid a whole host of dental issues, while helping you manage your weight and increase your energy.

According to the American Dental Association® and Mouth Healthy™, the following foods and beverages are recommended to boost your dental health, immune system, and overall systemic health:

  • leafy greens
  • almonds
  • plain yogurt
  • milk
  • cheese
  • poultry
  • fish
  • eggs
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • water

If your goal is to fight cavities, reduce your risk (or effectively manage) of gum disease, and embrace an overall healthier lifestyle, this list is for you!


Which Foods to Avoid

Of course we need to tackle the primary issue on the other side of the coin— which foods you need to avoid (or limit your intake of) in order to improve your dental health.

We’re not saying if you have one Snickers bar that you’re setting yourself up for failure because, let’s face it, that’s just not realistic. What we are saying is that if you avoid these foods 90% of the time, you’ll be in a much better position to enjoy a clean bill of health every time you visit the dentist:

  • Sugary, processed foods
  • Foods that are high in sugar or sugar substitutes (typically ending in -ose like high fructose corn syrup)
  • Sports drinks (water is all you will ever need to properly hydrate)
  • Candy
  • Food that has been genetically modified or involve the use of pesticides (more on this below)

The Organic vs. Non-Organic Debate

When it comes to the organic vs. non-organic debate, there are people who fall on both sides of the argument. Obviously, organic food tends to be more expensive than non-organic products, so cost is obviously a consideration.

Our recommendation is to eat organic foods when possible in order to avoid consuming as many harmful pesticides as possible.

In addition (when it comes to animal products), it’s better to use organic products, specifically coming from animals that are grass-fed (beef, milk, cheese, etc.).

We’re not going to spend too much time here because each person’s circumstance is different and there is plenty of research both in favor and against organic products.

All in all, the logic is pretty simple: You want to consume products that are as close to their natural state as possible (cows that eat grass, fruits with minimal pesticides and preservatives, etc.).


What About Beverages?

We touched earlier on sports drinks (which are full of empty calories). The only hydration you’ll ever need is water and it is much healthier, not only for your teeth, but for your body as a whole.

If you are a coffee or a soda drinker, you’ll want to re-evaluate your obsession as it may be damaging to your oral health by staining your teeth and leading to cavities. Again, if you are going to drink these beverages, we recommend that you don’t sip on them all day. It’s best to use a straw and also limit your consumption to no more than one dark beverage per day.


Eating a Healthy Diet and Routinely Seeing a Dentist is a Recipe for Success!

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If you are in or near the West Babylon or Patchogue area on the South Shore Long Island, we encourage you to contact our locaiton nearest you today in order to schedule your appointment (Babylon Dental Care at Great South Bay or Babylon Dental Care at Gateway Plaza).

Our dental team will not only provide a thorough cleaning and exam, but we’ll discuss with you a few simple lifestyle changes that you can make in order to improve your overall health and well being.

Your health starts with your mouth, so come see us today!

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