Good oral health is critical to looking and feeling great. Your smile has a major impact on how you feel about your outward appearance. Your mouth also has a major impact on how you feel on the inside. Poor oral care can increase risk factors for disease and affect your gut health. The types of food you consume also affect your gut bacteria, which is a significant source of brain-body health. Maintaining a healthy smile is very important to our overall health and what you eat has a significant impact on your oral health.
When you consider both the intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors that affect oral health, you can see the need to carefully evaluate how certain foods and drinks can cause concern. Some can cause damage to your mouth as they are consumed and some can cause damage to your internal health which will show up in your mouth. Equally, if you eat the right foods, they can help to improve your oral health.
There are some food & drink that can cause external damage to your teeth and gums including:
-Coffee & tea
-Any carbonated beverage including sparkling water
-Sticky & sugary foods including dried fruit and candy
-Starchy foods such as crackers, soft breads & chips
There are also foods that help to fight plaque build-up and improve the conditions in your mouth. Some of the top options include:
-Nuts & seeds
-Other high calcium foods such as leafy greens
-Foods high in vitamin C (for gum health) such as peppers, broccoli, potatoes and spinach. -Citrus fruits and tomatoes are also beneficial but in moderation since they are more acidic
-Cacao (chocolate without added sugar) can also help to manage mouth bacteria.
-Prebiotic and probiotics
Improving your oral health starts with consuming foods that provide positive benefits to your mouth health and avoiding those that can cause damage to your teeth and gums. It is also important to recognize that the health of the inside of your body, especially your gut, can also impact your oral health. Poor gut health can lead to increased inflammation in the body which will impact your gums and can lead to tooth decay.
To build a gut microbiome that has the right balance of good bacteria, the following foods are recommended:
-Fibre rich foods such as beans, almonds, brussel sprouts or bananas
-Fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut
Also, in order to avoid too much bad bacteria forming in the gut and impacting your oral health, you’ll want to avoid highly processed and fried foods, artificial sweeteners, soft drinks and consuming too much alcohol. Eating a balanced diet with a lot of whole, unprocessed foods will go a long way towards improving your oral health from the inside and out.