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Diet, Nutrition, and Habits Affecting Teeth & Oral Health

healthy teeth and green apple

A good diet does more than help you maintain a healthy weight and good cholesterol. A good diet can play a huge role in your oral health, which in the long run impacts your overall health. In fact, did you know the plaque found in your arteries that cause heart disease is the same plaque that is found in your mouth? No wonder leading dentists say good overall health starts with good dental health.

What are good dental habits?

Good dental hygiene starts with a good routine. It’s important to not only brush your teeth twice daily but also your tongue. Remember, that’s where many of the bacteria that cause bad breath live. You’ll also want to ensure you’re flossing on a daily basis and visiting the dentist twice a year for cleanings.

Regular cleanings not only help keep your mouth healthy, they give the dentist a chance to determine whether anything has changed that might warrant additional review.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet is one that meets all of your nutritional needs for your age and life stage. An older person has different nutritional requirements than a younger person. Similarly, the vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your body healthy will vary depending on your age.

Generally, a healthy diet consists of few processed foods like sugary cereal, candy, and pasta. All of these are simple carbs that either contain a lot of sugar or break down into sugar.

Additionally, you’ll want to include plenty of leafy green vegetables in your diet, as they’re full of vitamins like iron and even calcium, both of which help keep your bones and teeth strong.

Getting adequate protein is another important factor in keeping your diet healthy. This helps keep you full longer, thus reducing the calories you eat in the long run and providing nutritional supports to your muscles.

How do I know if my diet is healthy?

One of the easiest ways to tell if your diet is healthy is to look at your overall oral health. Do you have new cavities popping up at each dental visit? Perhaps you’re experiencing regular bad breath that just won’t go away. All of these can often be attributed to what you’re eating.

You can also tell if your diet is healthy by examining how you feel overall. Are you sluggish and weak? A healthy diet should energize you because you’re getting enough calories and nutrients to support your body’s needs.

What if I need to make a change?

If you’ve noticed a change in your oral health or just how you’re feeling overall, it might be time to make a change. This takes a lot of discipline, but with the support of your family and friends can be done.

Before you decide to make any changes talk to your dentist about what your current habits and diet look like. Dr. Pham can recommend where to start, so you aren’t overwhelmed and don’t feel like you have to start the process on your own.

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