Living here in America gives us plenty of dietary options. Some of us prefer fruits and vegetables, choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. However, the majority of households select meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables to fuel their bodies. There are plenty of foods available for us to select from that are either grown in the United States or shipped here. It’s surprising that what may seem the best choice for your diet may not actually be best for your oral health.
How Does Your Diet Affect Your Teeth?
A diet consisting of fruits and vegetables might not be the best option for your teeth. Most of us have been taught we don’t get enough leafy greens and antioxidant-rich fruits in our diets. With that, it seems eating only fruits and vegetables would be a great diet. That may or may not be best, depending on who you ask or what you read. From a dental perspective, there are several things we need to consider if your diet doesn’t include meat and dairy products.
- Snacking – We all like our snacks, however, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you probably have more snacks than if your diet included meat and dairy. It’s known that most doctors suggest three meals a day and some suggest two or three snacks between or after meals. When we eat, the PH level in our oral cavity drops and creates a more acidic environment that can wear down tooth enamel. If we have a few extra snacks we probably have only a temporary setback. However, if we are constantly snacking, the acidic environment can continue causing bacteria to breed and tooth decay.
- Acid – The choices we make for snacks are important to our oral health. If your diet is vegan or vegetarian, you probably tend to snack on carbohydrate-rich acidic fruit or dry sticky fruits which may cause a constantly acidic mouth leading to weak enamel and cavities. It’s best to not brush your teeth until about a half hour after you snack since an acidic environment can cause the enamel to temporarily soften. Try to snack less and drink plenty of water to rinse your mouth. Avoid sticky fruits, if you chew gum chose gum with Xylitol. Protect your teeth by choosing more filling carbohydrate choices such as nuts and whole grains.
- Remineralization – Some vegan and vegetarians have problems regarding the absence of remineralizing foods. Eating meat, dairy and seafood helps to counteract acidity and aids in the remineralization of teeth that have been demineralized in an acidic environment. Foods that can help the vegan or vegetarian with remineralization are nuts, green leafy vegetables (but watch the spinach since it isn’t good for your teeth), and sea vegetables. Taking a supplement is also an option to help you get the proper balance of vitamins and minerals that could be lacking in your diet. Eating without retention can blow the whole idea of eating a healthy diet.
Your teeth are a very important part of living healthy therefore it’s necessary to learn how our diets affect our oral health. Talk with your dentist and physician regarding your diet choices and do some research on your own. Your goal is to maintain healthy teeth for your lifetime!
Always discuss your concerns with your dentist. Follow his or her advice to achieve the results for a bright, happy, and healthy smile.
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About Tri-State Family Dentistry
Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.