Prevention: Diet

Symptoms

Disastrous oral health, including inflamed or bleeding gums, tooth loss, and mouth pain, hair loss, thinning, or loss of pigmentation, premature aging, excessive weight loss or gain, drained brain function, digestive issues, slow healing wounds, low immunity, fatigue

The above symptoms may be indication of a poor diet. The snacks and foods you choose to eat have a direct impact on the state of your oral health. Bacteria is constantly growing in our mouths. When this bacterium comes into contact with sugar, an acid is produced that attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or longer.

A diet that has an overabundance of sugar in it can pose serious risks to your oral health. High-sugar drinks, snacks, and other foods are going to accelerate your chances of getting cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. The bacteria from these diseases may enter your bloodstream and cause inflammation elsewhere in your body, becoming a risk factor for other diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and more.

Your mouth needs vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Calcium helps build up bones, harden your enamel, and strengthen your jaw. Milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, and salmon are all great sources. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and boost bone mineral density. Your body naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. You can also get it from fatty fish, canned tuna, and Portobello mushrooms. Potassium improves bone mineral density and works with magnesium to prevent blood from becoming too acidic. Bananas, lima beans, tomatoes, Swiss chard, potatoes, avocados, and prunes are all a good source of potassium. Phosphorus supports calcium to build strong bones and teeth. It can be found in seafood, soybeans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, beef, pork, and cheese. Vitamin K helps to block substances that break down bone; a deficiency of this vitamin will cause you to heal slower. Vitamin K can be found in leafy greens, parsley, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin C strengthens your gums and the soft tissue in your mouth. Citrus fruits, potatoes, and leafy greens are a good source for this. Vitamin A keeps your mucous membranes healthy and prevents dry mouth. Fish, egg yolks, liver, leafy greens, and orange-colored fruits and vegetables are high in Vitamin A.

Tips for Eating Healthy

  • Prepare more of your own meals to monitor exactly what goes into your body.
  • Replace unhealthy food choices with healthy ones.
  • Avoid packaged and processed foods; opt for fresh ingredients.
  • Focus on how you feel after eating. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to be drained of energy, uncomfortable, or nauseous.
  • Avoid juice and soda, which is high in sugar and empty calories.
  • Cut back on sugar in your diet slowly over time.

For more information about the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body, gums, and teeth need, visit www.mypyramid.gov.