Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month to raise awareness on the importance of eating a healthy diet for overall health. At our dental office in Austin, we want to do our part and take this opportunity to also share the oral health benefits of eating a well-balanced diet.
Nutrition Can Be Confusing
While we know the basics to eating well include things such as avoiding too much fast food and eating more vegetables, the ins and outs to really optimizing your nutrition can get convoluted and confusing. Things have changed from the days of the Food Guide Pyramid released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. In fact, they’ve changed twice. Currently, the USDA recommends following the MyPlate recommendations for dietary guidelines. However, it’s still not quite that simple. The MyPlate model is individualized based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. So proper nutrition isn’t so clearly defined anymore. Head on over to the MyPlate Checklist to find your ideal balance, but essentially a lot of the basics still stand, including eating plenty of:
- Whole Grains
- Lean Proteins
What Does This Have to do with Your Mouth?
Following a well-balanced diet has been proven to keep you healthy and help protect your body from serious diseases. It turns out, what you eat also affects the health of your mouth, too. If you choose nutrient-rich foods and follow your MyPlate recommendations, you’re taking steps to keep your oral health in great shape. However, if your diet is poor, you’re putting your mouth at increased risk for dental problems.
Your dentist in Austin really doesn’t like sugar, and with good reason. This sweet stuff can wreak havoc on your teeth. When sugar is introduced to the mouth, acid levels surge. It’s this acid that attacks tooth enamel, wearing it down and leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay and cavities. A reduction in enamel may also increase tooth sensitivity or give teeth a dark, dull appearance.
But Wait, There’s More!
Although sugar tends to get all of the attention when it comes to talking about food and oral health, there are hidden sugars you should be aware of. Carbohydrates, while not typically sweet in taste, break down into simple sugars as we eat them. These sugars are just as dangerous as the stuff found in sugar-packed treats. Try to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels to reduce both your sugar and carbohydrate intake, as well as your fat, cholesterol, and sodium consumption.
Our Austin dental office prides ourselves as being active members of your healthcare team, and we’re to help get you healthy any way we can. Schedule your appointment with us today.