What we eat and how frequently we eat it is one of the most significant predictors of teeth and gum health. Without the necessary nutrients and a well-balanced diet, we become susceptible to tooth and gum decay and disease.
Enamel is a layer or fortifying tissue that protects teeth, but enamel can de damaged by corrosive substances. Because it is not a living tissue, enamel does not regenerate, which means once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. There are certain foods that reinforce enamel, and certain foods that weaken it. Keep reading to discover some of the do’s and don’ts of dieting in relation to oral health that you should know about if you want to be a dental hygienist.
Sugary Foods and Products Are Especially Bad for Oral Health
As difficult as it might be to hear, some of your favorite foods may turn out to be very bad for your teeth and gums. That’s because a lot of junk and processed food is teeming with additives and chemicals that are not nearly as good for oral health as they taste. In dental hygienist school, you will learn about nutrition so that you can identify which foods are good for patients’ teeth and gums, and which ones are not.
For example, while many people love starting their day with a cup of joe, coffee can have harmful effects on teeth. One subtle problem with coffee (and tea, for that matter) is the sugar people often add to it. Avoiding sugar or substituting it with a natural sweetener can help reduce coffee’s harmful effect. Also, consider drinking water regularly as coffee can stain teeth.
One thing that can severely damage teeth is food that just won’t go away. For example, sticky foods can get stuck on and in between teeth and while there they can develop harmful bacteria. Chewy candies and even some dried fruit are foods that can cause this. Starch, which is abundant in potato chips, also has a habit of getting comfortable between teeth.
The ingredient in this class of food that is especially detrimental to teeth and gum health is, yet again, sugar. Some of the commonly consumed products that contain lots of sugar that you might want to tell patients to avoid include: soft-drinks (including iced tea, sports drinks, and even vitamin water), commercial breakfast cereals, condiments like BBQ sauce or ketchup, white bread, pre-made sauces and soups, and processed foods.
Foods You Can Recommend When You Become a Dental Hygienist
It’s not all bad news though. When you become a dental hygienist, you will learn that some foods actually contribute to improving teeth and gum health. Some of the foods and products that are good for oral health include:
Leafy greens: are filled with fiber, which is excellent for teeth.
Salmon: contains vitamin D and omega3 that strengthen and protect teeth.
Green tea: protects teeth from plaque and fortifies enamel (no sugar, though!).
Carrots: and other raw vegetables and fruits generate lots of saliva which helps clean teeth.
The foods and products we consume have a direct effect on our general health and wellness, and this includes oral health. The consequences of a poor diet can cause irreversible damage to teeth and gums. By discussing nutrition with patients, you can help them keep their mouths healthy for longer.
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