Good nutrition is essential for good health, and that includes the health of your teeth. Let's look at the link between your diet and oral health - and what you can do to improve both.
Tooth decay and cavities are caused by acid that is produced by interactions between oral bacteria and food deposits left on your teeth. Certain foods, especially sugary, starchy, and sticky snacks, are linked to higher levels of such acid-causing bacteria. Additionally, poor nutrition can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to other health problems, including gum disease.
Sugar fuels the bacteria that produce acid and cause tooth decay, so avoid excessive intake of sugary foods and beverages like candy, desserts, fruit and vegetable juices, and regular soda. Sugar-free diet soda also is bad for your teeth, as all types of soda contain acid that can cause tooth erosion.
Carbohydrates like chips, bread, pasta, or crackers also promote acid-causing bacteria. When you eat these types of foods, eat them as part of a meal rather than by themselves, because combinations of foods (like cheese and crackers) can help neutralize acids. You should also avoid sticky, chewy foods like raisins, granola bars, jelly beans, caramel, honey, and syrup. It's difficult for salvia to wash away these foods, so they can cling to the teeth and cause decay.
Variety and moderation are the keys to a healthful diet. Eat well-balanced meals, choosing a variety of options from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein. And, always remember to brush twice a day and visit your dentist two times a year.