All of us know the value of regular visits to your dentist in State College. But taking care of your teeth in between dental appointments is every bit as important. This should include not only brushing and flossing but eating a wide variety of healthy, tooth-friendly foods as well.
What Happens When You Eat the Wrong Things
Your body needs the right fuel in order to work correctly. Fill it with junk and the results can include high blood pressure, weight gain, and chronic health issues like heart disease and diabetes. But that’s not all. Your teeth take a beating as well when you fail to follow good nutritional habits. Here’s why:
- Your mouth plays host to millions of potentially harmful bacteria, the kind that secrete corrosive acids and cause tooth decay. These pesky critters run on sugars and simple starches like the kinds found in most desserts and fast foods. Eating these foods is like pouring gasoline onto a raging fire. Pretty soon things get out of control.
- Inside your body are billions of microscopic cells that build and maintain your teeth, bones, and organs. Think of them as little carpenters who stay busy all the time. To complete their projects, these cells need raw materials like protein, calcium, and vitamins, which can only come from eating healthy, wholesome foods.
- Starving yourself of essential nutrients makes every system in your body work less effectively, including the cells that protect you from infection. The result is like leaving your doors and windows open all the time and putting a sign in your yard that says BURGLARS WELCOME. You can bet that harmful microorganisms will set up shop inside of you, infecting your teeth and gums. Now you see why dentists spend so much time talking about the dangers of unwise eating habits.
Taking It One Step at a Time
“I understand,” you may say. “But I can’t help myself. I have an incurable sweet tooth.” We understand your dilemma. Here are some ways to help keep temptation at bay:
- Try weaning yourself off sugar and starches gradually. For example, rather than swearing off candy bars altogether, you might limit them to a twice-weekly indulgence. After a while, reduce your intake to one candy bar a week, then one every two weeks, then one a month and so on.
- Try some of the many low-calorie and no-calorie treats available in most food markets. Many of these snacks are so delicious you’ll never miss the sugar.
- Use your favorite sweets as a reward for good behavior. For example, you may allow yourself an occasional piece of cheesecake but only if you eat three servings of fresh vegetables a day for an entire week. That way, you can enjoy the food you love while also cultivating healthy habits.
Limiting desserts to occasional indulgences is essential for taking good care of your teeth and gums. The small sacrifices you make today will more than pay for themselves with improved health and well-being. Use the tips in this post with that goal in mind and you’ll soon have lots of reasons to smile.
About the Author
Dr. John A Martin earned his DDS degree from Temple University. He has been practicing dentistry since 1975. You can reach his office online or by calling 814) 234-0329.