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Improve your dental hygiene with the right nutrition

Woman eating cereal with fruit
Blog

/ by UK HealthCare

Taking good care of your teeth and gums has a significant effect on your overall well-being and is essential to a healthy lifestyle. A well-balanced diet and proper maintenance of your teeth can help lessen the risk for tooth decay, gum disease, cavities and even oral cancer.

Here are some tips and practices for how to maintain proper oral health:

1. Limit your snacking.

How often you eat is just as crucial as what you eat. Snacks are OK, but try to eat most of your food during meals. More saliva is released during mealtime, which lessens the effects of acid. When you do snack, choose a healthier option such as an apple or slices of cheese instead of cookies or potato chips.

2. Try to avoid sugary foods and drinks.

Candy and soft drinks are loaded with sugar that certain bacteria can use to produce acid, which can decay your teeth. Practically all foods contain some type of sugar, so be sure to read the nutrition label and choose items that are low in added sugars.

3. Brush your teeth after eating or drinking anything sugary.

This helps remove the plaque on your teeth. If you’re not able to brush after every time you eat, brush at least twice a day.

4. Pass on foods that stick to your teeth.

These include dried fruits, candy, potato chips and popcorn. Foods like this promote decay as they can get trapped between your teeth and bacteria can begin to grow.

5. Skip the alcoholic drink.

Alcohol dries out your mouth excessively. When the saliva level in your mouth is low, your defense against plaque and other oral health issues is weakened. Wine in particular can stain your teeth as well.

6. Drink lots of water.

This keeps your mouth moist and will protect both hard and soft oral tissues.

7. Maintain a well-rounded diet.

To help your mouth resist infection, follow a diet featuring foods from the five major food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy. Vegetables should take up the largest portion of your plate while the protein, which can be lean meats, fish, eggs or nuts, should not be bigger than the size of your palm.

A diet that lacks certain nutrients can also lead to periodontal disease and consequently tooth loss.

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