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Two of the most common diseases today can be helped (or hindered) by what you eat. Tooth decay and periodontitis, or gum disease, develop from acid created by oral bacteria destroying the hard tissues of the mouth. Your immune system also plays a part as people with a low immune system are more at risk for periodontal disease.

Any kinds of food that sticks to your teeth can increase your chance of tooth decay. Avoid sweet, sticky foods like candy, dried fruit, and cake products. When the bacteria in your mouth comes into contact with sugar, the acid it creates attacks your pearly whites for 20 minutes or longer. Acidic foods and beverages also soften tooth enamel over time. This is where your saliva comes into play, as it gradually helps to bring back the balance of the acids in the mouth.

Repetition seems to be the culprit. Repeated exposure to the acid and sugar prolific in soda combines to erode enamel and lead to cavities. Drinking it with meals can help limit exposure, but sipping it all day adds up. You can try sipping it through a straw to limit the exposure on your pearly whites, and rinse with water after you drink it.

Studies have also indicated that drinking carbonated beverages and non-carbonated iced tea in cans weakens and destroys tooth enamel. Non-colas are especially harmful because of flavor additives that erode teeth. But root beer which has the least flavor additives was determined to be the safest soft drink for dental enamel.

Avoid dry mouth by staying well hydrated, and water is your best choice since it doesn’t harm your teeth. The saliva in your mouth actually protects your hard and soft oral tissues. You can also stimulate saliva production with sugarless candy and sugarless gum.

A healthy diet can help your oral health. Eat a balanced diet that doesn’t eliminate food groups—grains, fruit, vegetables, meat and milk (calcium is especially helpful for healthy teeth and bones) are also good for your oral health. You can also take a vitamin and mineral supplement which includes vitamin C and D, and calcium.

Calcium rich foods include yogurt, milk, cheese, soybeans, tofu with calcium, white beans, broccoli, almonds and leafy greens like kale, bok choy, collard greens.

Vitamin D rich foods include fish like mackerel, wild salmon, sardines and herring, milk, soy milk, yogurt, and egg yolks.

Vitamin C keeps your gums healthy by strengthening blood vessels and the connective tissue in your jaw that holds your teeth. It also helps reduce inflammation. You can find these in foods like oranges and juice, guava, bell peppers, grapefruit and juice, pineapple, strawberries, broccoli, kale, kidney beans, sugar snap peas and tomatoes, to name just a few.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, we invite you to call our office at 603-444-2100 today!