Healthy Eating Habits for a Radiant Smile This New Year
The Connection Between Diet and Dental Health
Most people understand that food plays a key role in overall health, which is why one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to develop healthy eating habits. If you plan on making a big dietary change in the new year, remember that starting small is the key to making lifestyle changes that last for a lifetime—especially when it comes to food.
Food doesn’t simply provide the energy you need to chase your little ones around; food choices directly affect how well the body functions. But that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on your favorite tasty treats. Instead, you can enjoy everything in moderation.
Why Food Choices Matter for a Healthy Smile
According to the CDC, healthy eaters are more likely to live longer and are less likely to develop severe health issues. To keep your body running smoothly, it’s important to eat a variety of healthy foods. Try to stick to unprocessed foods, as well as those that contain as little salt, sugar, and saturated fats as possible.
But why does it matter specifically for your teeth? Maintaining healthy eating habits takes your oral health routine one step further by helping sweep away debris, harden enamel, reduce gum inflammation, and encourage saliva production.
Healthy Eating Habits To Prevent Tooth Decay
Foods high in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A help the body reinforce enamel to protect against tooth decay. When hunting for these nutrient-dense foods, start in the produce section of your supermarket. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with all these crucial nutrients and more. Plus, leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are full of calcium. So pack that salad full of those dark-green veggies. Your body will thank you!
Another section you should visit is the dairy aisle. Plain yogurt, cheese, and milk offer more than a comforting taste. They are also filled with calcium and phosphorus. So when you add a sprinkle of cheese to your lunch, you’re actually equipping your enamel to resist the effects of cavity-causing bacteria!
Eggs are also a good additive to any meal thanks to their phosphorus, vitamin D, and protein content. Plus, eggs are easy to incorporate into breakfasts, salads, and sides.
No matter what healthy eating habits you choose to pursue, don’t leave out drinking plenty of water. Water helps keep your mouth clean and combats dry mouth. Fluoridated water also reduces your risk of tooth decay by a whopping 25%. So drink up! Your teeth will thank you.
Foods To Avoid for Good Oral Health
When it’s time to make your meal plan, remember one key thing: Moderation is key. Yes, food nourishes your body, mind, and teeth, but it can also deliver a much-needed serotonin boost. So enjoy the following foods in moderation, and always keep up with your regular oral hygiene routine.
Soda is always there. Whether it’s in a vending machine as you wait on an oil change or next to the register when you buy lunch, it’s available. It’s easy, tasty, and, unfortunately, full of sugar. These sugars react with oral bacteria and create acid. This acid then begins to demineralize the enamel. Left unhindered, it will continue into the tooth and cause a cavity.
The same is true for all foods containing sugar. It’s a sneaky beast that hides in more foods than many people realize. Those processed, easy-to-grab foods around the supermarket, a bag of chips, the ice cream we desperately need after a long week.
Cutting out these delicious things sounds like a miserable time. That’s why we suggest enjoying them in moderation instead. Just be sure to brush and floss those teeth after you’re done!
Practical Ways To Eat Healthy
When you have a busy lifestyle, the thought of dedicating time to cooking healthy meals can feel overwhelming. So to achieve sustainable dietary changes, try tackling one thing at a time. For example, you could start by planning out nutritious breakfasts. Then after a few weeks, move on to lunches, and so on. It’s easier to maintain healthy habits if you make the initial changes in small increments.
Once you get going, work toward making a meal plan. Not only will this help you stay within budget, but you will be in complete control of what you plan to make for your family. Scroll around online and save what sounds good, then create your shopping list from there.
Try to create a master list of foods to keep on hand. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are great items to keep in stock. That way, you’ll be more likely to reach for them when you get the urge for a snack!
Making changes to your diet may seem daunting at first. But don’t be afraid to take it one step at a time. You might be surprised how much of a difference even one small change can make to the overall health of your teeth and gums.
You’ve got us!
If prioritizing your oral health feels overwhelming at times, remember that you aren’t alone. At Compass Dental Group, we are here to help you take care of those teeth every step of the way. Whether it’s time to look into orthodontic care or you need to schedule a routine dental cleaning, you can do so in just a few clicks!