Nutrition for Healthy Teeth
They say …. It all starts here … healthy mouth healthy body. Proper oral hygiene is about more than fresh breath and clean teeth. It is vital for maintaining good overall health. Your teeth are the first step in the digestive process, you take their help for chewing your food. Daily brushing with toothpaste and flossing are vital to a healthy smile, but nutrition is equally essential for your dental health.
It is important to consume a balanced diet with a variety of nutrient foods. The food we eat is the source of nutrients required for the renewal of tissues, fight infection, bone health, dental health, etc. likewise, by knowing how to eat healthily you can achieve optimum oral health which is vital for overall being. A nutritionally deficient diet may result in periodontal diseases and tooth loss.
Foods Needed for Optimum Oral Health
Calcium is the most plentiful mineral in our body, it is a vital mineral and it strengthens the enamel, which is the outer covering of teeth. Enamel is 98% composed of calcium and phosphate ions, it is the most mineralized tissue in our body. Foods like brown rice, green leafy vegetables, oranges, peas, broccoli, cabbage, cheese, yogurt, and salmon are a good source of calcium. Having optimum calcium is vital at every age, while young children need calcium for the development of strong bones and teeth. Adults require calcium for the maintenance of healthy and strong teeth and skeleton. Deficiency of calcium can increase the risk of osteoporosis and periodontal diseases. Recommended calcium intake is based on age, it varies from 200-250 mg in babies to 1000-1200mg in adults.
Phosphorus is vital for the development, maintenance, and repair of mineralized tissue like bones and teeth. Phosphorus can be easily obtained from daily diets, Lack of optimum levels of phosphorus results in joint pain, irritability, anxiety, loss of appetite, poor development of bone in children, fatigue, heart diseases, weak teeth. Phosphorus is usually abundant in cells and tissues, it is the second most abundant mineral in our body. The amount of phosphorus needed depends upon the age, it varies from 700 mg in adults to about 100 mg in infants. High levels of phosphorus can be toxic, it can result in diarrhea and affect the body’s ability to use other minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium.
The ratio of phosphorus and calcium is fixed in our body, the normal ratio of calcium and phosphorus is 2.5:1. When the level of phosphorus increases in blood because of underlying ailments such as diabetes, kidney disease, eating too much phosphorus, eating too little calcium, celiac disease and certain medication (antacids, insulin, ACE inhibitors, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids), alcoholism, to maintain phosphorous homeostasis, our bones and teeth release calcium to compensate. This leads to a decrease in bone density and weaker teeth. Phosphorus can be obtained from cereals, soya beans, and nuts like almonds, poultry, eggs, grapes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and cucumbers. The deficiency of phosphorus can occur because of severe starvation.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in the formation of healthy teeth, it enhances mineralization of alveolar bone, enamel, and dentine, it also maintains healthy gums. It promotes the absorption of calcium and regulates the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body. Natural sunlight, eggs, cereals, dairy products, and fish like tuna, etc are a good source of vitamin D. vitamin D plays an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial role in the oral cavity. Lack of Vitamin D results in a compromised immune system, which results in bacterial growth, increased local inflammation, and periodontal disease.
Resist frequent snacking between meals, quench your urge to snack with healthy options like raw vegetables, salads, fruits, and plain yogurts. Practice healthy snacking and Remember to rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after snacking, this will help you in keeping cavities at bay.
Avoid sugary snacks and drinks, they have the potential to damage enamel resulting in tooth decay. Food that is high on sugar and starch contributes to tooth decay and gum diseases. Choose your snacks and beverages wisely, replace soft drinks with fresh juices, and drink less soda. Increase your water consumption.
Practice good oral hygiene
Oral hygiene is a practice, it requires following regular brushing and keeping the mouth free from diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Oral hygiene should be practiced regularly to prevent dental diseases. It is vital to regularly brush and floss your teeth, schedule regular dentist visits to ensure healthy dental health. Ideally, the mouth should be cleaned after every meal, but brushing twice a day is sufficient to reduce the building up of plaque.
Always discuss your medications, supplements with your dentist. Certain medications like antacids may cause dry mouth resulting in tooth decay. Antihistamines and certain cough syrup may block the release of saliva causing dry mouth.