Poor nutritional decisions can lead to oral health problems and weaken the immune system making individuals susceptible to many other health issues.
There is an important correlation between nutrition, oral health, and the body’s natural immune system. Poor nutritional decisions can lead to oral health problems and weaken the immune system, making individuals susceptible to many other health issues. With poor nutrition and oral health practices, people are at risk of developing issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, halitosis, or oral cancer.
The mouth is the gateway to the body and what people eat impacts both oral and overall health. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) supports nutritional best practices that not only keep the oral cavity healthy, but essentially aids in stabilizing the immune system.
Poor nutritional habits are the leading cause of tooth decay. Tooth decay is often caused by acid produced by interactions between oral bacteria and food deposits left on the teeth. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about 47 percent of the adult population over the age of 30 suffer from tooth decay or gum disease. Limiting the amount of sugary, starchy, and sticky foods from ones diet is a good nutritional practice to guarantee that teeth and gums remain strong and healthy.
General dentists encourage variety and moderation in developing a healthy diet. Nutritional decisions can have both positive and negative impacts.
Choosing various options from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and protein, are the best options for maintaining strong teeth and healthy gums. Certain foods from these groups contain nutrients that are essential to the health of the teeth and maintain a strong immune system. To protect the enamel, patients should make sure they are eating a calcium rich diet. Calcium is a mineral that helps individuals maintain strong bones and teeth. This nutrient is most beneficial to the teeth if it is consumed from food. Foods that are rich in vitamins A and D are also essential to the health of the teeth and gums. Those nutrients can be found in eggs, fish, and milk. In addition, diets should also contain foods rich in Vitamin C. Such foods include oranges, pineapples, grapefruits, and several others.
Over-the-counter supplements are an additional option to address any nutritional gaps when in a patient’s diet. Popular dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes. Supplements come in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, powders, drinks, and energy bars. Most of these supplements can be bought at grocery or drug stores without a prescription.
Oral health consumers should consult with their general dentists to address their oral health needs or visit agd.org to find a general dentist.