Most people are now aware of the very real effects of nutrition on their overall health and well being. You are probably aware that what you eat has a big impact on your weight, cognitive function, and even your blood pressure. You might even be aware that consuming excess sugar increases tooth decay. What you might not know is that what you eat also has a big impact on your oral health, from the inside out. Here are three things your dentist wishes you knew about how your diet impacts your teeth.

Good Nutrition in Mom Helps Baby's Teeth

Tooth buds begin to form before a baby is even born. By 20 weeks of pregnancy a child's baby and adult teeth have begun to grow, and the only way for an unborn child to get all the nutrients they need to grow healthy teeth is through what their mother eats. Aim for enough calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and protein to help your child develop healthy teeth.

Some Foods Actually Aid Oral Hygiene Efforts

When you think about eating your favorite foods, you probably associate them with poor side effects in your mouth. Sure, a bowl of ice cream is going to add to your toothache, but eating an apple or carrot can be a great way to keep your teeth in shape. The crunchy texture of these foods help scrape off food particles and calculus (also called plaque), and the chemicals in them help keep the bacteria responsible for tooth decay in check. An apple a day keeps the dental drill away.

Acidic Foods Aren't the Problem

When patients hear the term "acid erosion," many automatically think about all the spaghetti dinners or lemonades they've enjoyed over the years. The fact is, though, that the acid from food has little to do with acid erosion. In fact, sugar is the primary reason acid erosion occurs. The bacteria in your mouth can excrete acid for quite a while after you've eaten sugar, whereas the acid in a bite of tomato sauce is only a brief acid exposure. The minerals like vitamin C in acidic foods are very good for you, and help build strong teeth and connective tissue. Don't skip acidic foods to avoid tooth decay.

Eating well is good for your whole body, your teeth included. Now that you know a little more about how what you eat affects your teeth, what will you do differently?

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