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How the Food You Eat Can Impact Your Dental Health

BY: ashney shney | Category: Health | Submitted: 2010-04-11 00:50:53
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Article Summary: "Dental hygiene is very important in the grand scheme of our dental well being. Flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash all impact our overall dental health. However, what a lot of people don't realize is that what we put into our mouths during meals and snacks has an immense impact on our dental health. This is why it is importa.."


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Other than the daily care of our teeth, the next most important factor in the health of your teeth is the foods you eat. I will discuss here the role of food and our eating habits in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Past research was insufficient, in that it primarily stressed the chemistry of nutrients in causing cavities, such as the effects of the type of food eaten and the initial effects of food while still in the mouth. There are also social, environmental, and human factors that can have an impact on our teeth.

Here we hope to provide some important information so that you can take better care of your teeth. You might need to take a look at your diet and lifestyle as a whole and change some things. Food habits are the ways people have learned to select and consume food as a result of social pressures and cultural tradition. When we are very young we start to form the personality that becomes who we are as adults, and we start to learn the behaviors we will use lifelong at the same time. Various outside influences help to shape those personality traits and behaviors over time. We also fall under the influence of those same forces when we form our habits where food is concerned.

To begin displaying better eating habits, we may have to eliminate some foods that may be doing us more harm than good. A great way to tell if we are eating healthy is by checking our daily consumption levels with properly planned food guides. Usually we recommend foods from these groups such as milk, meat, fruit, vegetables, bread and cereals. Teenagers have higher nutrient needs than adults. Thus, up to five servings of dairy are suggested, but they need a minimum of three. At least two servings of meat and six servings of fruits and vegetables are needed for their diet. A minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables are necessary for this age group.

Sugars are the biggest culprits in damaging teeth through decalcification, so they should be avoided as much as possible. We advise young people to make an effort to try and clear up their skin complexion, exercise more regularly and incorporate larger amounts of protein into their diets; the idea that physical appearance can improve may appeal to our youth more, and it may ultimately empower them to start making necessary changes in their lifestyles.

Sugar should not be added to food or drinks. We also need to think about dental issues more as we age. It's important to get regular dental checkups the older we get. It is crucial to take this seriously, as gum disease increases by half as a population passes forty years old.

The presence of these gum disorders frequently indicates the existence of diabetes or other diseases which may affect the kidneys. They may also indicate early symptoms of general disease. A gum disease for which there is no cure is called pyorrhea. It's a very grave condition. However, you can manage this condition by using the appropriate treatment. For this reason, twice-annual (or even more frequent) dental checkups are very important. Pyorrhea is the result of malnutrition and will cause infection in the mouth. The loss of teeth is caused by decalcification of the bones.

If there is a lack of protein or calcium being provided to the tissues, the teeth will recede and become smaller as a result of the minerals pulling out from the jawbones; then, the actual gums will not be able to line up with the base of each tooth properly. Over time, there remains too little bone structure. Your teeth cannot be held in place. So even healthy teeth, free from cavities, begin to feel loose. Your dentist will announce that they must be taken out.

The best way to improve oral healtha nd keep the teeth fitting tightly in the gums is to focus on diet in addition to oral care. Food has a systemic effect on teeth, that is, it acts indirectly through a general effect on the body. In order to support good systemic health we need to take in the proper amounts of foods to support each of our essential nutritional requirements. Dried legumes, meat, fish, eggs, poultry and cheese are all high in protein. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes. Vitamin D is also essential in helping our bodies process calcium properly.

When enzymes are produced by bacteria and in turn break down sugar which becomes lactic and other acids, tooth decay occurs. However, your saliva can neutralize these acids provided it contains enough calcium. If enough calcium is present, then no decay can form. Remember though, that abundant amounts of calcium alone will not do it. You need plenty of vitamin D as well, or your system will not be able to take in the calcium it needs.

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