Eating habits can be a major factor in determining the oral health of a person. Starting from direct corrosive effects of certain substances to deficiency related effects caused by lack of certain nutrients, our eating habits can immensely predict our oral hygiene.
Substances that cause tooth decay:
Food heavy in simple sugars and starch can be really harmful for teeth as they tend to make the mouth a major breeding ground for oral bacteria. Food-stuff like cakes, hard candy, cookies, dry cereals, breath mints and chips as well as products like milk, honey and ice-cream which have a tendency to stick to the teeth and are not easily washed away by saliva have a higher probability of inviting decay causing bacteria.
Frequent snacking habits also cause food to stick to the teeth while frequently sipping soda has a corrosive effect on the teeth and a bacteria causing effect on the gums. Similarly tobacco smoke can be another major cause for corroded teeth, not only causing nicotine stains but also direct corrosion on teeth due to the presence of tar.
Parents are also encouraged not to feed their babies with milk, juices or other drinks containing sugar as the sugar sticks on overnight hence making it easier for oral bacteria to attack.
Eating disorders that put oral health to a risk:
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “Without proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissue inside the mouth may bleed easily. The glands that produce saliva may swell and individuals may experience chronic dry mouth.”
Eating disorders can be classified into certain kinds of illnesses like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and various others. Such kinds of eating disorders often cause the patient to have emotional, behavioral and attitudinal problems in relation to food and body-weight related issues. Other than the most obvious defects like lack of nutrition, such disorders can often make the patient empty the contents of their stomach through their mouths. This may cause digestive gastric juices to corrode away at the teeth. This combined with the lack of nutritional components like Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Fiber and Calcium can cause to become brittle and erode very easily. This can even cause teeth to chip away.
It is very important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet in order to have good oral health. A diet that consists of ample amount of fresh and crunchy fruits and vegetables helps maintain a steady source of vitamins and fiber. Such nutrients in turn not only directly affect the strength of teeth but also help in cleansing our system and safe-guarding against oral bacteria.