We all know the axiom “you are what you eat”. Our overall health is, to a significant extent, determined by the foods we eat. Though the results are most obviously revealed physically in our waistline, what you eat will ultimately make up portions of your cells, skin, hair, blood transportation systems, muscles, fat, and more. What you eat will also have a strong influence in determining your oral health. So, what foods and nutrients are good – and bad – for your teeth and gums?
The Importance of Healthy Gums
Did you know that nearly half – 47.2% – of people aged 30 or older in the U.S. have some form of gum disease? Symptoms of early-stage gingivitis include swollen and red gums that may also bleed. When left untreated, the condition can advance to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease where the gums recede away from the teeth, which can cause teeth to loosen or even fall out.
The cause of gum disease is the bacteria in plaque that infects the gum tissue, leading to inflammation and disease. There are two essential steps to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss once per day.
- A well-balanced diet with the right nutrients may also help maintain a healthy mouth.
What Nutrients Benefit Gum Health?
You can protect your your teeth and gums from bacteria and decay with these:
Vitamin C is among the most powerful antioxidants available—it helps reduce inflammation, a major contributor to the gum disease. Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables, with some of the best being strawberries, pineapple, lemons, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and kidney beans.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and Vitamin D work hand in hand to protect your teeth and bones. Consuming a diet rich in foods, such as yogurt, milk, cheese, kale, broccoli, wild salmon, herring, and eggs will help you get a balance of calcium and vitamin D to maintain your bones and teeth.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A diet that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in keeping your gums healthy, too. Omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate inflammation in the gum tissues. Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish and flaxseed oil.
What Foods Are Bad for Oral Health?
Poor nutrition can worsen the conditions of your gums. A diet that’s high in sugar is more likely to cause plaque to form and increase your risk for various dental problems. Additionally, a diet high in refined carbohydrates can inflame your gums. These include foods like white bread, white rice, and potato chips.
Another essential step to protect your teeth for a lifetime is twice-annual dental check-ups. Your dentist can find dental issues before they worsen and help you keep your teeth healthy. Along with the right diet, your association and AMBA can help you keep your mouth healthy! Our Dental Plan provides coverage for twice annual cleanings, as well as access for any dentist you want with bigger savings by staying in-network, and – best of all – NO WAITING PERIOD on covered services. Visit www.AMBAdentalvision.com or call 877-556-4578 to enroll today.