The Link Between Food and Oral Health Explained

According to the World Health Organization, proper health doesn’t merely mean being free of any disease. It also means that you have good general well-being which includes oral health.  Poor oral health is almost always linked to diet. Below you will see an analysis of how some oral conditions are linked to poor dietary choices.

1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when the calcium component in your teeth dissolves. The decay can be triggered by many factors including:

Presence of bacteria in the mouth-

The harmful bacteria in your mouth triggers the entire process. This bacteria comes from the remains of food left in your mouth. That is why you are advised to brush your teeth after every meal. Brushing your teeth removes the tiny bits of food that introduce bacteria into your mouth.

Amount and type of sugar in your diet-

Sugar is introduced into your mouth via the food you eat. Studies have shown that eating food with high quantities of sugar increases the chances of development of tooth decay. One particular study found that isolated communities that have a traditional lifestyle have very few incidences of tooth decay. This is because of the food they eat. They mainly consume food that has low sugar quantities. However, when sugars and carbohydrates were increased in their diets, the rate of development of tooth decay rose. This study clearly shows that your daily nutrition needs to involve food with lower sugar quantities to prevent the development of tooth decay.

Another study found that there is a relationship between when you consume sugar and the development of tooth decay. It showed that the development of tooth decay increased when the sugar was consumed in between meals. The development of tooth decay was lower when the same amount of sugar was consumed during meals.

The lowering of the effects of sugar during meals was attributed to the other foods in the diet. For instance, fiber in the food absorbs the sugar present in other foods. Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus found in food reduce the risk of developing tooth decay. Wholesome foods require a lot of chewing and this leads to the production of more saliva which inhibits the development of tooth decay.

You should ensure that your diet has low quantities of sugar.  You should also note that the type of sugar in your diet matters. Refined sugars such as sucrose are more acidic than natural sugars. Refined sugars thus increase the likelihood of developing tooth decay.

2. Poor Development Of The Enamel

Enamel is the outer coating of the tooth. Its development can be easily affected by poor nutrition. Insufficient quantities of both vitamin A and vitamin D can cause underdevelopment of the enamel. An underdeveloped enamel does not show the bright white color of teeth. Instead, it shows an unpleasant yellowish color.  Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon are high in both vitamin A and D.

3. Gum Disease

Various studies have shown that gum disease is prevalent in areas where there is malnutrition. Folic acid in foods lead to strong gums. Conversely, inadequate quantities of folic acid in food can lead to weak gums.  Foods rich in folic acid are leafy green vegetable, citrus fruits and beans.

Some gum diseases like Gingivitis can be cured solely by a change of diet. Gingivitis is characterized by the formation of a yellowish sticky bacteria around the teeth. It also causes inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis will clear if one consumes a diet rich in Calcium and vitamin C. Calcium will strengthen the tissue that holds the teeth in place. vitamin C has anti-inflammatory bodies that will remove the inflammation.  Some foods high in vitamin C are broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, red or yellow peppers and oranges.

4. Oral Cancer.

The more than 300,000 new cases of oral cancer reported per year are closely linked to the use of tobacco and alcohol. Smoking and chewing of tobacco are closely linked to oral cancer since tobacco causes redistribution of important nutrients in the body.

The smoke causes important nutrients to be distributed to parts of the body where they are not needed. Important nutrients such as antioxidants are not distributed to areas of the mouth thus increasing the likelihood of oral cancer. Antioxidants reduce the likelihood of cancer by neutralizing metabolic properties and inhibiting the activation of procarcinogens.

The situation is worsened when the smoker does not observe proper nutrition. The likelihood of oral cancer development in a smoker increases if the smoker does not have the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in their diet.

As you can see there is a strong link between the food we eat and oral health. The link is so strong that the oral health of a fetus that has not been conceived yet can be affected by the diet of the mother.

You should ensure that you eat a balanced diet to ensure that you maintain proper oral hygiene. You should reduce the amount of sugar that you intake. You should also strive to stay away from tobacco and alcohol. In addition, make sure you brush your teeth after each meal.