Friday, November 6, 2009

What is the Relationship Between Nutrition and Oral Health?

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At Malibu Canyon Dental we like to take the time to educate our new and existing patients about all dentistry procedures and different topics. Our Woodland Hills dentists would like to share with you important information regarding your oral health.

Many people do not think that what you eat may affect your oral health…but it does! And more that you think! The food you ingest is not only vital to your entire body’s development and function but also to you oral health. Eating habits and food choices are important factors among children and teens that affect how quickly they may develop tooth decay. Nevertheless, adults are also susceptible to these diseases. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA) nutrition and oral health are intrinsically related. Malnutrition affects the entire immune system, causing an increase in the susceptibility to develop many disorders.

To have the benefits of a good oral health you need to have good nutrition practices. For this reason, it is necessary to promote the importance of balanced meals with plenty of vitamins and minerals, regular and conscious hygienic habits and bi annual visits to our Woodland Hills dentists, for the prevention and intervention of diseases.

Foods your should avoid or limit:

  • Sugar-filled sodas
  • Sweetened fruit drinks
  • Non-nutritious snacks
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Pastries
  • Dried fruits
  • Sugars (fruit sugar, milk sugar and table sugar) and cooked starches (cookies and bread, etc.) in general

Just as dental health is an integral part of systemic and nutritional health; it is accurate to consider the synergy between nutrition and oral health. There are two well known dental conditions directly influenced by diet and nutrition: Dental cavities and tooth decay. Although poor nutrition is not the only factor on the aforementioned diseases they play an important role on their existence. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection which may cause periodontal disease. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, the disease develops faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not provide the required nutrients.

On the other hand, there are diseases that result from bad nutrition habits such as those of cardiovascular origin and diabetes, which may cause serious dental complications. If it’s true that diet modulates the development of these diseases, it means that education and promotion of good nutritional and oral habits will treat some of the consequences and could alleviate the symptoms.

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What can you do to help your oral health?

  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Make sure to drink enough water
  • Limit your snacks to nutritious foods that are low in sugar.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance.
  • Floss or use another kind of interdental cleaner daily to remove plaque under the gums and between teeth.
  • Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups
  • Schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings.

There is still research being done on this topic but the information provided by practitioners of nutritional and oral health is valuable to start changing these concepts on the population. Woodland Hills dental professionals should relate to each other in order to create conscious habits among patients. With the proper information in hand, people are more aware of the consequences and can act accordingly to preserve their oral health.

Always remember; eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet not only improves your dental health, but it may also reduce the risk of other diseases!

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  1. My uncle is a dentist and he is always telling me how bad soda and other sugary items are for my oral health. I can tell you that he has made sure that I know that I need to watch what I eat for my dental health.