Oral health supports overall health

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jhauna Huerta
  • 71st Medical Operations Squadron

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- You know the saying, “You are what you eat.” It’s also true for dentistry.

The foods we consume not only shape our overall wellbeing, but can also impact oral health. Drinking soda, energy drinks, or just feeding our body too much “junk” puts us at higher risk of tooth decay or other oral diseases.

The moment food is introduced to the mouth, bacteria begins to convert it into acid. This acidity is what starts to break down your enamel, which results in decay.

The number of times you eat throughout the day can be important as well.

People who snack or sip on sweet drinks throughout the day provide a sugar source for bacteria to fester and produce acid constantly. Rather than munching throughout the day, combine your snacks with a meal.

For those who enjoy snacking, make sure foods like cheese and crackers are consumed together. The combination of food neutralizes the acids that cause decay.

Other food and drinks to look out for are hard candies, sticky food, citrus fruits, coffee, food that “crunches,” soda, alcohol, sports drinks, and even chewing on ice. All of these could cause a dental emergency.

Let’s be real, it would be hard to cut these things out completely, so at least rinse your mouth with water to wash away anything left behind after you eat.

Some think that dieting will help their overall health, but lack of nutrients can cause a higher risk of periodontal disease. Vegetarians especially need to make sure they are incorporating calcium and vitamin D. Shortage of vitamin D could result in softening of teeth, causing decay and periodontal disease. So make sure you’re soaking up some sun.

How we feel every day directly links to our oral fitness, so say goodbye to unhealthy food and hello to a better, healthier mouth.