You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases such as tooth decay (cavities) and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet and through some common sense steps.
Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.
1. Eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
2. Keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues.
3. Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. So when you snack, avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, and cheese.
4. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, as well as some fruits, juices and sodas, peanut butter, crackers and potato chips are culprits. When you eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers, cookies and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay.
5. Eat less. dental disease is just as related to overeating as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
6. Parents should take their child to the dentist just after the first tooth appears. Children should also be supervised as they brush. A good rule of thumb is that when children can dress themselves and tie their own shoes, then they are ready to brush unsupervised. Children should be supervised in proper flossing techniques until the age of 10.
7. Any prolonged exposure to soda can cause damage. Avoid sodas
8. Children at school should rinse their mouth with water after meals, leaving their teeth free of sugar and acid. Children should also brush three times a day for two minutes and rinse with a fluoridated mouth rinse.
9. Avoid Chewy/sticky sweets, sour candies or sugary snack. Try hard candies or better yet dark chocolate.
10. Introduce oral health care habits early. Wipe baby’s gums with a damp cloth after every feeding. Introduce brushing with a soft-bristle brush and water when the first tooth appears. Parents can add a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste to the toothbrush by age 2.