Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

shutterstock_97340330.compCaring for your teeth is caring for your body, and many of the habits that are healthy for one are also healthy for the other. Good dental care lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Preventing infections in your mouth protects the rest of your body from the possibility that an infection might spread. And a healthy diet for your body includes foods that are also good for your teeth. While good dental hygiene and regular dental visits are essential for dental health, they are more effective when paired with a healthy diet.

Most dietitians recommend avoiding excess consumption of sugars. Among the benefits of this advice is that it is healthy for your teeth: the bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar, consuming it and excreting acids which weaken your dental enamel. Limiting your intake of sugar also limits the progress of tooth decay, keeping your mouth healthy.

Some foods and drinks are acidic in and of themselves, and you should take care in consuming them. One especially unfortunate example is soda. The combination of soda’s natural acidity, and the sugar which speeds the multiplication of bacteria and the buildup of plaque, contributes strongly to tooth decay. If possible, limit or eliminate soda in your diet. Also, if you do consume soda or other acidic foods, do so at mealtimes so that the effects are diluted, and wait for half an hour before brushing your teeth to avoid wearing away at the enamel.

Finally, make sure that your diet includes mineral-rich foods and sources of fluoride. Your teeth need these minerals to stay strong, as do your bones. These and other nutritious foods will help provide for your dental health—and your health overall.

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