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The impact your diet has on your teeth

Posted by: Dr. Sirakian     Categories: Dentistry, Oral Health


Everyone knows that eating too much sugar can cause tooth decay and cavities. But did you know there are other hidden ways your diet can negatively impact your oral health?

1. Unhealthy Diet & Your Immune System: Your immune system keeps you strong and healthy…but it needs the right fuel to work effectively. If you don’t eat nutritious meals, your immune system weakens and becomes less capable of fighting infections—including those of the gums and mouth. Lingering infections can result in inflamed gums, cavities, and other tooth issues, not to mention a lot of pain. Sound like something you want to avoid? Stick to a balanced diet—and remember that anything you choose to eat ultimately affects your oral health.

2. Not Drinking Enough Water: The bacteria that cause cavities and gum infections thrive when the mouth is dry. A dry mouth also lowers the naturally occurring acid levels in your mouth, which makes it easier for sugars and bacteria to damage your teeth. By drinking water steadily throughout the day, you’ll create a healthier environment in your mouth by increasing moisture and helping to balance acidity.

3. Acidic Foods & Drinks: Acid in everyday food and drink attacks tooth enamel, causing decay, sensitivity, and discoloration. It’s right up there with sugar as something to avoid to protect your teeth. You’ll find high acid levels in citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, vinegar-y foods like pickles, coffee, and wine (the latter two also tend to dehydrate you…see #2!). Sodas are another main offender—including diet. If you consume things from this list, try to drink water alongside them and use a straw with beverages to avoid contact with your teeth. You can also lessen the effect of acidic foods by pairing them with low-acid foods like cheese, eggs, fish, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, oatmeal, and fruits like bananas, apples, and melons.

4. Starchy Foods: When you consume starchy, carbohydrate-rich food like bread, pasta, potatoes, and white rice, you face a double whammy of oral health danger. First, whenever starch comes into contact with the plaque bacteria that coats your teeth, it produces acids which then attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you’ve finished eating. Sustained attacks eventually result in decay and damage to teeth, bones and gums. Second, starchy snacks like chips and crackers and the foods mentioned above break down into sticky particles that are more apt to get stuck in your teeth. This gives them more time to transform into acids. To defend against the starch attack, drink water during carb-heavy meals and always brush and floss after them.

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Everyone’s been there—whether it’s the person you’re talking to or it’s yourself, having bad breath can make for an awkward situation. Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, occurs when food collects in your mouth around your teeth, gums, and tongue. If not removed, these leftover food particles can result in an unpleasant odor in your […]

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How Your Genetics are Affecting Your Teeth

You may have stellar brushing, flossing, and rinsing habits, but it is genetics that plays the leading role in your oral health. About 60% of the risk for tooth decay comes from genetic factors. Tooth decay is the most common chronic worldwide disease and we only have partial control over it. While you should continue […]

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Can Therapy Cure Dentist Fear?

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Tips Dental Professionals Live By

At a dental appointment, you’re likely to receive a lot of advice. Brush and floss twice daily, cut down on coffee and soda, don’t smoke cigarettes… and while these are some of the most valuable and important tips, you probably hear them all the time. There are plenty of dental tips that dentists repeat with […]

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Top 5 Teething Tips for Parents

The eruption of your baby’s first tooth is an exciting milestone that parents often look forward to. However, it can also be a confusing, stressful time if you aren’t sure what to expect from the teething process. Whether you’re a veteran parent looking to improve your next child’s teething experience, or a new or expecting […]

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