NUTRITION IN ORAL HEALTH
A well-balanced, nutritious diet is important for good oral health and general health. The food we eat supplies the nutrients that the body, bones, teeth and gums need to renew tissues and help fight infection and disease, including periodontal (gum) disease.
THE IMPACT ON ORAL AND OVERALL HEALTH
Hectic lifestyles, fast food, fat diets, large amounts of sugar and trendy supplements can have health repercussions. A poor diet can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Food high in sugars and starches increase the production of acids that can erode and weaken the tooth’s outer layer (enamel). Eventually, these acids can cause tooth decay.
There are a number of factors that can put individuals at risk for poor oral and overall health such as an unhealthy diet, age, medication, allergies, restrictive diets, chronic disease, lack of vitamins (supplements).Children and teens need a balanced nutritious diet so that their teeth develop properly and are strong and decay-resistant. The elderls are at high risk for poor nutrition because they areusualy on restrictive diets or undergoing medical treatment, weak or loss of the appetite. This could result in tooth loss, gum disease, pain or a joint dysfunction such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which can impair an individual’s ability to taste, bite, chew and swallow food.
Those with food allergies or on restrictive diets, e.g., gluten free, as well as vegetarians, particularly vegans (consuming no food or drink of animal origin) may experience vitamin and protein deficiencies. This could put them at greater risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Choosing the right food and quantities can supply the nutrients they need. Taking a multi vitamin daily is also recommended.
PREVENTION AND HOME CARE
Limit consumption of food and beverages that contribute to poor oral health. Eat sweets at mealtime, not as a snack, because the increased flow of saliva during a meal helps protect the teeth by washing away and diluting sugar. If sugar is the first ingredient listed on a product label, then the food has high sugar content. Look for other sugars on the label: corn syrup, corn sweeteners, dextrose, fructose, glucose, honey, maple syrup, molasses and sucrose.
Check to see if liquid medicines (such as cough syrup) contain sugar. Ask a physician or pharmacist for sugar-free medicines. Drink water between meals. Prepare food in healthy ways, such as steamed, sautéed, poached or baked. Avoid fried food and limit salt intake. Maintain proper oral hygiene. Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.