“You are what you eat.” We have heard this adage a number of times in our lives, but do many people stop to truly understand the implications that this has on our oral health? The body is a complex machine made up of many different systems that work together and are dependent upon how each works. The foods that you choose to eat and the drinks that you choose to consume can affect your general health and the health of your entire mouth. While consuming an excess amount of sugar can make your waist line grow, it can also cause trouble to grow inside your mouth.
Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, and it is the single most common oral health care concern among people of all ages. The good news about tooth decay is that it is entirely preventable. The bad news is that it often requires a great deal of willpower.
Tooth decay is caused when plaque on the teeth comes in contact with sugar from the foods and beverages that we consume. We all have millions of bacteria in our mouths that work to break down left over food particles. These bacteria are meant to be brushed and flossed away at least twice a day so that damaging plaque does not buildup and cause tooth decay. However, not everyone takes the time to brush after eating. This allows the plaque on the teeth to grow and spread quickly. If, then, you decide to have a snack or candy or soda – the already present plaque on the teeth now has extra resources. The sugars from your snack or drink attach to the plaque and can cause damage extremely quickly, eating away at the tooth enamel and causing a cavity. It is important to control the amount of sugar that you consume, not only for your general health, but also for the health of your mouth.
Drinking plenty of water, eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, eating lean meat, eating low-fat dairy products, and making the time to brush and floss twice daily can greatly benefit the health of your mouth. “You are what you eat,” and if you want to be healthy, it is important to make healthy choices. With simple food choices, daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental cleanings – you can help prevent oral health problems from occurring.