Diet and Oral Health

This post was written by our Champaign area Community Relations Coordinator, Andrea Harris. 

Everyday, when we enjoy some of our favorite foods, we fail to consider the negative effects they can have on our bodies. Usually the instant gratification from the first sip of a cold pop outweighs the regret experienced later. And if we think about the negative consequences on our health, what comes to mind first is our waistline. However, do we ever stop to think how our diet can affect our oral health? When biting into a doughnut and sipping that coffee in the morning, do we realize what it does to our teeth? Just like the rest of the body, our mouths depend on healthy choices to stay healthy. Here is why:

Poor nutritional choices in diet are often linked to higher levels of cavity causing bacteria. This bacteria produces acids that can destroy out teeth and lead to decay. However it does not end there. Given that poor nutrition affects our immune system, when making bad choices we risk increasing susceptibility to many disorders and diseases. When the immune system is not as strong as it can be, research has shown that the risk of periodontal disease and decay increases.

On the contrary, good nutritional choices can protect our teeth from decay. Foods that increase saliva flow can neutralize acids produced by tooth decaying bacteria. Not to mention, making good nutritional choices promotes wellness and makes you stronger overall.

But what can we do to better our diet and overall oral health?

The best option is to follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services which include:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern for your whole life

    • All food and beverage choices matter!

  • Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount

    • Choosing a variety of foods from within all the food groups is great for achieving your goals!

  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake

  • Shift to healthier food and beverage choices: fruits, veggies, lean protein, water!

  • Support healthy eating patterns for all

    • Let others know about good choices!

FUN FACT: finishing your meal with a cube of cheese can reduce the effect of acids and sugar on your teeth!

Don't limit yourself to good nutrition. We all should go above and beyond with our oral health routine as well. Some tips include:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (especially first thing in the morning and before bedtime).

  • Brush your teeth after eating and after drinking sugary drinks to remove bacteria.

  • Floss every day, twice a day if possible.

  • Visit your dentist every 6 months for an oral exam and professional cleaning.


If you have more questions about your diet and oral health in general, visit us at Familia Dental. Our doctors will be able to put you on the road to excellent oral health!

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