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How the Content, Frequency, & Duration of Your Dietary Habits Affect Oral Health

September 18, 2014

112808754When you have a quick afternoon snack or settle down to dinner, do you ever stop to think about the way each bite is affecting your oral health? If your answer is no, don’t worry – you’re certainly not alone. Most of us eat and drink throughout the day without giving a second thought to what’s going on along the surfaces of our teeth, although taking a moment to consider such a thing may actually help you avoid costly dental problems later. At the Rocky River, OH dental practice of Dr. William Eick, our team works closely with patients to help mitigate the effects of preventable diseases, providing them with important information about nutrition, eating habits, and oral health.

The Microcosm of the Mouth

Every time you eat or drink something, the bacteria in your mouth leap into overdrive, digesting food particles and producing acid that adheres to the surfaces of your teeth and gums. These bacteria thrive on sugary and starchy foods, all the while contributing to the demineralization of your enamel. Though it is impossible to rid your mouth of bacteria entirely, there are some changes you can make to the way you eat in order to reduce your smile’s risk of acid erosion and decay. These include:

  • Acidic foods like citrus fruits and juices attack enamel, weakening its defenses. If you are eating foods like tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits and the like, try to enjoy them as part of a meal rather than by themselves.
  • Remember that the length of time you chew something is also a factor to consider. Reduce consumption of sticky or chewy foods as well as foods that are held in the mouth for an extended period of time.
  • Thicker liquids (including milk, smoothies, and coffee with creamer) tend to remain on the teeth and gum line longer than thinner beverages. Rinse your mouth with water after drinking these types of liquid to protect your enamel.
  • Limit snacking throughout the day and rinse with water following each meal. Avoid brushing directly after eating as your enamel may have been softened by acidic components in your food. Instead, wait for 30 to 60 minutes to avoid unnecessary acid erosion.

Periodontal disease and dental caries (cavities) are the two most prolific oral health concerns in America, and both are caused by the bacteria that reside within our mouths. Managing bacteria with proper oral hygiene, good nutritional habits, and regular visits to the dentist can substantially reduce your risk of developing these conditions. Ask Dr. Eick about more ways that you can alter your diet and eating habits to promote a healthier smile.

Improve Dietary Habits for Fewer Oral Health Problems

Whether you are currently suffering from dental caries and seeking dental treatment in Rocky River, OH or you’d simply like to learn more about how your diet impacts your oral health, Dr. Eick and his caring, experienced team are here to help. Contact our office today to schedule your visit. We proudly welcome patients from throughout the Rocky River, OH area as well as surrounding communities in Cleveland, Lakewood, Fairview Park, Westlake, and more.