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Improve Dental Health by Eating the Right Foods

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How does dental caries develop?
Proper nutrition can help prevent the two most common dental problems that people typically struggle with: tooth decay and gum disease. Tooth decay (which eventually leads to tooth decay) is caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. This bacterium comes from the food you eat and acts on the sugars in the food (this is why sugary foods are not good for your teeth).
The acid produced slowly eats away at your tooth enamel and then the inner part of the tooth called dentin. Eventually, over time, acid will “eat” the tooth and chip away, leaving a hole or cavity. Cavities are often breeding grounds for bacterial infections and can lead to severe toothache.
In addition, bacteria from your mouth can enter your body through your saliva or bloodstream and lead to other health problems.
What is the connection between diet and dental health?
A balanced diet provides the body with the right amount of nutrients. Nutrients help the body revitalize its immune system, which in turn increases resistance to dental disease.
calcium helps build teeth and jaws. A person who eats a low-calcium diet is more likely to develop dental problems. To help the body absorb calcium, the diet should include adequate amounts of vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D in the diet can lead to dry mouth, burning and a bitter taste in the mouth.
iron is also necessary for nourishing the blood vessels in the mouth. Iron deficiency can lead to ulcers and inflammation of the tongue. Vitamin C also helps in the absorption of iron.
Adequate amounts of vitamins B2, B12 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin) can prevent bad breath and ulcers. So your diet should ideally contain all of these nutrients. Eating the right foods can prevent dental problems and reverse tooth decay.
What foods are good for dental health?
The following foods are good for improving dental health:

     <li>Milk, yogurt, cheese, oysters, beans – These contain calcium and phosphates that help remineralize teeth and also strengthen gums</li> 
     <li>Nuts, bran, red meat, liver - These foods are high in iron</li> 
     <li>Pasta, Spinach, Chicken, Fish, Almonds - These are concentrated sources of vitamins B2, B12 and B3</li> 
     <li>Pears, sweet potatoes, red peppers, kiwis, and oranges are great sources of vitamin C</li> 
     <li>Celery stimulates the salivary glands, resulting in saliva production.  Saliva dilutes the concentration of bacteria.  Celery also acts as a natural floss and cleans between teeth</li> 
     <li>Raisins are excellent sources of oleanolic acid, which inhibits the growth of oral bacteria</li> 
     <li>Onions have powerful antibacterial effects due to the sulfur-containing compounds they produce.  They taste best fresh and raw.</li> 

    What foods are bad for dental health?
    It is advisable to limit the intake of the following foods:
    <strong>Carbonated soft drinks</strong>: Soft drinks, canned ice teas and diet colas all contain flavor enhancers.  Although diet sodas contain far less sugar than their regular counterparts, they do contain acids that attack tooth enamel, namely phosphoric acid and citric acid.
    <strong>alcohol</strong>: Dry mouth after the party last night?  This is the alcohol that dries up salivary secretions.  Make sure your mouth is protected from excessive dryness by using rehydrating rinses or just drinking lots of water.
    <strong>Chocolate bars, lollipops and toffee bars</strong>: Any candy that involves prolonged sucking and chewing is bad for your teeth.  It's not just related to the sugar content (although that's a bad thing, too).  The longer the sugar stays in your mouth, the worse it is for your teeth - the bacteria can metabolize the sugar longer.
    In short, be sure to avoid acidic and sweet foods.  If you want to drink orange or grape juice, suck it through a straw and swallow it straight down your throat.  Rinsing it around in your mouth is more likely to give your teeth an unwanted acid bath.
    <p>As a precaution, rinse your mouth with clean water after drinking or eating sugary or acidic foods.  This will help get rid of the acid deposits on the teeth and prevent tooth decay.</p> 

Thanks to Nirupama N Raghavan

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