How Changing Your Diet Can Help Your Teeth Last Longer
The Mediterranean Diet has been increasing in popularity and for good reason – researchers continue to find that the health benefits get better and better. In addition to finding that it is good for the heart, circulatory system, and brain, it has even been found that the diet can help people have healthy teeth.
The Average Diet
The average American eats a lot of unhealthy food today. This includes fast foods, greasy foods, and foods that are heavily laden with sugar and salt. Many of today’s foods also lack in nutrition.
The Mediterranean Diet and Overall Health
Researchers evaluated the eating habits of 10,000 women who were in their 50’s and 60’s, and then checked on their health 15 years later. Harvard reported that they discovered that when the women ate healthy while in their 40’s, they were largely still quite healthy even beyond 70. In fact, they were around 40 percent more likely to arrive at 70 and beyond with any major chronic health problems, and without any mental health problems.
Sugar and Teeth
Sugar is especially bad for teeth. It causes the bad bacteria in your mouth to grow. When they do, they produce an acid that attacks your teeth and causes dental erosion and cavities.
Many sodas and specialty coffees contain a lot of sugar, ranging from nine teaspoons up to 25 in a single drink. In addition to the sugar which increases the bacteria, coffee also has its own acid, and soda has another kind. When combined, it is sure to cause tooth decay rapidly.
More Fruits and Vegetables
The Mediterranean style diet consists of eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and less red meat. In addition, it is often cooked in olive oil, and other healthy fats are supplemented from nuts and fish, which have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Four Foods Especially Valuable to Protect Teeth
- Olive oil – is beneficial to your teeth because it helps prevent the bacteria that damages your teeth from attaching to them.
- Fish – the oil in some fish has been found to be able to lower your risk of getting gum disease. People who eat high levels of fish and other seafood with omega-3 lowered their risk of getting periodontitis by 20 percent. The three fish that have the highest levels of omega-3 are salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
- Fruits and Vegetables – While Americans do not eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, those in the Mediterranean area do. This is beneficial in protecting your teeth because of a greater intake of nutritional minerals that strengthen your teeth and the enamel. Magnesium and calcium are especially beneficial.
- Nuts – Walnuts in particular are helpful in reducing inflammation, which can promote gum disease and prevent other health problems. They also contain vitamins – magnesium and phosphorus – which help to ensure that your teeth are strong.
Healthy Teeth Are Necessary for Good Health
In just the past couple of years, researchers are discovering how having a healthy mouth and teeth affects your overall health. Many serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer, are believed to be partly caused by inflammation in the mouth.
Paying attention to your diet is not only important for the health of your teeth, but it could also easily help you live longer, too. For even better health, it is also important that you leave off some things out of your diet, if you regularly eat or do them. This includes smoking and using excessive amounts of alcohol, as well as foods heavy in sugar. It is believed that as many as 70 percent of oral cancer cases are the result of a poor diet.
Lose Weight, Too
When you eat healthy, you will also be likely to lose weight. This is an added benefit of the Mediterranean Diet, because you are consuming less carbs and more nutritious food. Stay away from the sugars and eat healthy snacks, too.
Take Care of Your Teeth
In addition to healthy eating, it is also important that you take care of your teeth. When cavities develop, or gum problems, you need to have them treated by a dentist. This will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape.
If your teeth are stained, they can be whitened at the dentist’s office, too. While kits from the local stores may whiten teeth a shade or two, they can be whitened by about six shades in one sitting at the dentist’s office.
Getting started now on the Mediterranean Diet can help you enjoy a healthier life. If your gums are already showing signs of gum disease, treatment can help prevent the more damaging periodontitis.
If you already have signs of tooth decay or gum disease, you can have these treated before more serious problems develop. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, is a Board Certified Periodontist, and he has offices in the Carrollton, Dallas, Cedar Hill and Grapevine, TX areas. You can contact his office at (214) 731-0123 for more information, and better dental health.