Did you know that what you put in your mouth affects not only your weight, but also your dental health?
Now, before you tell me I’m crazy or spouting nonsense, hear me out on this surprising relationship between your weight and your teeth.
A study published in the journal Oral Diseases found that people who are overweight typically have poorer oral health. In fact, the research shows that obese people have an almost six-times higher risk of severe gum disease. One factor is the inflammation in the body brought on by the extra weight, which is a cause of periodontal disease.
We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth and our waistline, but how about some other seemingly healthy foods? You can eat and drink your way to a healthier smile and body by making some small changes to your diet. The good news is that most of the foods you need for a healthy smile are also the best foods for your diet!
Water: Water is vital to our overall health – it hydrates us, it keeps us feeling full (so we eat less), it lubricates our joints, it carries oxygen throughout our body, it boosts skin health, to name a few benefits. As far as dental health goes, the top three reasons to make sure you get your H20:
- It’s a good source of fluoride. Some bottled waters are enhanced with fluoride, but in reality, most public water sources are also fluoridated.
- It flushes excess food particles and sugars from the teeth that can lead to staining and cavities
- It helps fight bad breath and dry mouth (they often go hand-in-hand). Certain types of bacteria grow in a dry mouth; water helps prevent the bad breath bacteria from forming, and also produces saliva to wash away excess food particles.
Get Your Vitamins In: Vitamins are good for you. Period. They strengthen our bones, including teeth and jaw, and are good for our skin’s elasticity. Some of the best vitamins to help improve your teeth are:
- Calcium – we all know it’s in dairy products, but you can also find it leafy greens (such as kale and spinach), beans, and almonds.
- Vitamin D – not only does vitamin D improve mineral density, but it also helps absorb, carry and deposit calcium in the bones in your jaw. Some foods, including dairy products, are fortified with vitamin D, but you can also get it naturally just by going outside – the sun is a natural source!
- Phosphorous – phosphorus naturally protects and rebuilds tooth enamel. Some of the best sources are found in protein-rich foods, like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A is key for healthy gums, as well as tooth enamel. It also keeps the saliva flowing in the mouth, which is essential for cleaning away bacteria and food particles from the gums and between teeth. Saliva also coats the gums and cheeks, making them less vulnerable to disease. This one is easy to remember; most foods rich in vitamin A are orange including cantaloupe, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Peppers, leafy greens and proteins such as egg yolks and fish are also rich with vitamin A.
Cheese: While included in dairy, cheese is a proverbial superfood for your mouth because of its ability to combat acid erosion of your teeth. Cheese can counter attack the acid left behind by many foods. Plus, it’s a healthy fat, so it makes you feel full.
Green Tea: Green tea is filled with antioxidants. These antioxidants help prevent plaque build-up and contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. A 2016 study determined that regularly drinking green tea also helped to reduce oral bacteria, which can protect against cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. But, skip the sweeteners!
Our next blog post will look at the best and worst foods for your teeth.