Nutrition and Your Oral Health
Nutrition plays an important role in overall wellness, including your oral health. Eating well and maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of developing problems in your mouth, such as periodontal disease. In fact, including certain foods as part of a nutritious diet has actually been shown to play a role in the prevention of periodontal disease.
Lactic Acid and Calcium
Most people know that dairy products can help build strong bones. What some may not know is that consuming dairy products may also reduce your risk for developing periodontal disease. A recent study determined that individuals who regularly consume 55 or more grams of foods containing lactic acid, commonly found in dairy products such as yogurt, have a lower instance of gum disease.
Dairy products are also a good source of calcium which has been shown to lower the risk of severe periodontal disease.
The American Diabetic Association advises that adults should consume at least three servings of calcium each day to help keep your jaw bone strong and your teeth in place.
When a cold is coming on, many people reach for the vitamin C. But this vitamin may do more than just fend off the sniffles’ it may reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
According to a study, consuming less than 60 mg of vitamin C each day can put you at slightly higher risk for developing certain types of periodontal disease. And this isn’t recent news! In fact, in the late 18th century, sailors away at sea would eat limes to prevent their gums from bleeding. The Institute of Medicine states the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 60 mg per day – or about one orange.
Sometimes known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D can help lessen inflammation associated with periodontal disease. Research shows that foods fortified with vitamin D such as milk, eggs, sardines, and tuna fish, as well as moderate exposure to sunlight, can provide you with the amount of vitamin D required to stay healthy.
Eat Well and Brush Well
While nutrients such as lactic acid, calcium, and vitamins C and D have been shown to have a possible effect on periodontal diseases, patients should be aware that a well-balanced diet alone is not a substitute for periodontal care. It is important to follow up every healthy meal with proper brushing and flossing.
Making sure you make and keep your regular dental cleanings and check ups with either your general dentist or periodontist are crucial as well.
There may be more reasons to watch what you eat other than maintaining a healthy weight. Studies indicate that obesity may be linked to periodontal disease. Obesity can be the result of an unbalanced diet, which may lack the nutrients known to help prevent gum disease. Also, excessive consumption of sugary drinks such as soft drinks and foods high in sugars, trans-fats, and sodium are often associated with increased tooth decay and can have a negative impact on periodontal health.
Without the proper nutrients from a healthy diet, the body can have a hard time fighting off infections such as periodontal diseases. And routinely including such things as lactic acid, calcium, and vitamins C and D in your diet have been shown to possibly reduce the occurrence of gum disease.
So the next time you go to the grocery story or sit down for a meal, remember: eat right to smile bright!
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