Healthier Meals Make Healthier Smiles: A Guide to Diet and Oral Health

diet and oral health

A famous French chef once quipped “tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are” and those words are true. Diet shapes every aspect of our lives, including our oral health. Our teeth and gums are how we eat, and thus the first phase of the digestive process. Just as they are part of digestion and alimentation, what we eat has a direct effect on our oral health. So how do these two things interact and how can we find a diet that helps make our smile the best and brightest it can be? Let’s take a closer look.

How Diet Impacts Oral Health

Along with a healthy routine of brushing and flossing, diet is the daily activity that most strongly shapes your oral health. This can happen in a number of ways. Most of us learn in childhood that some foods can hurt our teeth and gums. Generally, these are foods that are high in sugars or starches can contribute to tooth decay by feeding the bacteria which damage your teeth, leading to cavities, gum disease, or even tooth loss. However, acidic foods can also harm your teeth by weakening the protecting enamel outer layer and allowing bacterial damage to take hold.

On the other hand, there are foods that can protect your teeth. Many experts recommend foods that are naturally high in calcium and phosphorus, as they help restore these minerals to the teeth and strengthen them. Foods rich in these minerals include dairy items such as cheese and milk, chicken, nuts and seeds, and green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. A diet focused on these foods is not only tasty but does wonderful things for your oral health in conjunction with a good brushing and flossing routine!

How To Implement A Healthy Diet

So now that we know a bit more about how food and diet affect oral health, how do we implement a healthier diet designed to keep our teeth happy? Well, there are a couple of tips and tricks that make this process a bit easier. Diet change can be a huge adjustment, so streamlining the process is often useful!
Create a master list of your favorite meals. Planning your meals around healthier foods with dental-friendly ingredients starts by creating a list of your favorite healthy meals. Involving everyone in your household in the meal planning helps keep everyone happy and healthy and makes planning your shopping list easier.
Plan your meals and shopping for one specific day of the week. This can be any day that fits your busy schedule, but by limiting your shopping and listmaking to one day you’ll avoid the temptation to spontaneously buy unhealthy foods. Make sure to include healthy snack items like nuts, yogurt, and fruit–on the go eating can be healthy too!
Stick to your grocery list. Avoiding spontaneous or disorganized shopping helps with most of this, but while you’re in the supermarket avoid picking up sugary treats or unhealthy starches. By what’s on your list and only what’s on your list–your teeth will thank you later.
Prepare meals in advance where you can. By doing some prep work or maybe freezing meals in advance, you’ll save yourself time and avoid the temptation to resort to less-healthy convenience foods.

The Joys Of A Healthy Diet

While you’re taking care of your teeth, you may learn a few other joys of this sort of healthy diet. Eating a vegetable centered diet with additional lean proteins and whole grains can help with weight loss, heart health, and overall wellness. You can eat a wider variety of foods and explore new culinary horizons. Keeping your teeth healthy is part of this overall goal, so get started today!