March is National Nutrition Month, making it an ideal time to consider how your dietary choices impact the health and appearance of your smile. Healthy eating is, of course, essential for leading a full, productive, and comfortable life. But poor food choices impact more than your waist line and heart health, they have a profound impact on the strength and beauty of your teeth as well.
We know that certain foods are harmful when consumed daily. These include:
- Sodas and sports drinks
- Fruit juices
- Acidic foods and beverages
- Simple carbohydrates
- Starchy, processed foods
- Candy and sweets
As concerns dental health and beauty, these foods and beverages increase risks for tooth decay, speed enamel erosion, encourage infection, and promote gum disease. Each of these consumables can also cause rapid tooth discoloration and severe staining – some of which will require advanced cosmetic services to treat. The best way to avoid these issues is to choose a healthy diet. And a good time to embark on the journey of healthy eating is National Nutrition Month.
Responsible vs. Restrictive
Nutrition is about eating responsibly, not restrictively. Instead of looking at food choices as “good” or “bad,” think about them in terms of “daily” and “occasionally.”
For optimal oral health, your daily diet should consist primarily of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole foods. Water should be your primary beverage. Sugary, processed and packaged foods and beverages can safely be consumed occasionally, but as treats instead of primary nutrition.
In addition to reducing oral health risks posed by sugary and processed foods, eating wisely can help keep teeth bright, clean, and strong. Crunchy fruits and vegetables gently scrape surface stains and plaque from the teeth, helping to prevent discoloration and cavities. Frequent water consumption washes bacteria and debris from teeth as well, further assisting in creating a healthy and clean mouth.
This National Nutrition Month, consider investing in a few cookbooks full of nutritious and wholesome meals. If you have never explored the amazing world of nutrient-dense foods, you are in for a treat. Nature has given us some of the most delicious foods known to man. Isn’t it time to add some of these to your daily diet?
Brush, Floss, Repeat
A healthy diet alone will not prevent harm to the teeth. Some highly nutritious foods, such as acidic fruits, can even cause damage if proper care is not taken. Fortunately, proper care is exceptionally easy.
Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating anything acidic, but be sure to brush after every meal. Ideally, you should brush after every snack as well. Flossing should be completed both morning and night to remove debris and plaque from in between teeth.
In addition to brushing after every meal and flossing twice a day, be sure to maintain biannual visits to our Mission Viejo office for professional cleanings and examinations. If you have questions about diet and oral health, we can address them during these routine visits.
If you have not been to the dentist for over six months, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Call 949-596-0296 to set your appointment up today. Located in Mission Viejo, Dr. Makhoul serves Laguna Niguel and all surrounding areas of California.