Your diet and oral health are strongly related. In fact, it likely has an even greater effect than you think! It’s not just sugar that can have an effect: the pH, mineral content, stickiness, and moisture content of your food can all have an impact.
Sugar is bad
We’re going to go out on a limb here and guess you already knew this one. Still, it is important to discuss exactly why sugar is so bad. Sugar’s main problem is its stickiness: if saliva washed it off easily, it would not have time to have much of an impact. Sugar’s other main problem is that it is calorie-dense and very easy to break down into energy. This is why it gives such an immediate energy boost, but also why it is so good at causing bacterial growth. The bacteria produce acid that wears down the enamel on teeth.
This exact mechanism is important, because it shows that it is possible to limit the damage done by sugar. Clearly, eating as little sugar as possible is the best approach, but even if you have a soda or dessert, it’s not the end of the world. Drink large amounts of water afterwards and, when possible, brush your teeth. This prevents the bacteria from building up, calcifying, or depositing more acid. This leads us into our next point:
Water is good
Water is extremely important for oral health. Large amounts of dilute saliva is nature’s way of protecting enamel. Saliva not only washes away remaining food particles, but also deposits minerals that help rebuild the enamel layer. Keeping yourself well-hydrated is the most important step to getting the right kind of saliva. As an added oral health bonus, the water will also rinse out your mouth as you drink it. Rarely, some people have weak salivary production even if they keep themselves hydrated. In this case, chewing a sugar-free gum can kick-start salivary production and keep your smile looking its best.
Minerals are essential
Your teeth are made up mostly of minerals. Although calcium is what gives your teeth their hardness, many other vitamins and minerals are needed to keep them healthy and strong. Taking a multivitamin once a day can help prevent enamel loss, cavities, and gum disease, not to mention improving your health in general.