Nutrition and oral health
What we eat is significant to our overall health. General guidelines should include
balance and moderation, and should involve choices from the five major food
Depending on your lifestyle, vitamin and mineral supplements may be necessary.
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
- Protein (animal or plant based)
- Whole grains (breads, cereals)
|How Sugary Foods Affect Your Oral Health
A major cause of cavities (tooth decay) is the
breakdown of refined sugars by bacteria, turning the
sugars to acid, which then dissolves the tooth
enamel. That’s why plaque (a sticky mixture of
bacteria, food, and debris) removal is so important.
Studies have shown that the nature and frequency
of sugar consumption is more important than the
amount. If the sugary food is very sticky, like caramel,
gummy bears, or jam, it will remain on the teeth for
a longer period of time. If you or your children are
constantly snacking on sugary foods or sipping soda,
you should be aware that your teeth are under
continuous acid attack.
|How Vitamins and Minerals Benefit Oral Health
A balanced diet is also important to keep bones and
gums healthy. Foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits and
juices), vitamin B12 (dairy, meat) and folic acid (spinach,
broccoli) help strengthen gums and supporting soft
tissue. Of course, calcium from dairy foods and dark
leafy vegetables are important too, as they are
necessary for developing and maintaining strong teeth
and bones. For those who are lactose intolerant,
calcium supplements are readily available.
|How You Can Help Prevent Tooth Decay
- Avoid having sugar in the mouth for long periods of time.
- Stay away from sucking candies and chewing gum containing sugar, and refrain from drinking soft drinks
regularly (unless sugar-free).
- Try to cut down on the number of snacks per day.
- If snacking is necessary, substitute foods that don’t promote tooth decay. Examples are popcorn, pretzels,
fruits, nuts, cheese, and vegetables.
- If you must consume sugary foods, do so with a meal or for dessert. Increased saliva flow during meals
helps to wash the food away. Also, many people brush their teeth after meals. It’s better to eat sweets at a
time and place that allows you to brush your teeth soon after.
- Visit a dentist. Go to DeltaDentalNJ.com/FAD to find a dentist nearby!