The Link Between Diet and Oral Health

The link between diet and oral health

January is the perfect time to focus on our overall health and wellness, and that includes paying attention to our oral health. Many people make resolutions to eat healthier and lose weight at the start of the new year, which makes this the ideal time to delve deeper into the link between diet and oral health.

Many people may not realise it, but the foods and drinks we consume can have a significant impact on the health of our teeth and gums. In this blog post, we will discuss how a healthy diet can help to promote healthy teeth and gums, as well as the foods and drinks that should be limited for good oral health. Additionally, we will also discuss the importance of oral hygiene practices and how they can contribute to maintaining a healthy smile so that you enter 2023 with confidence.

Food & Drink

One of the main ways in which diet affects oral health is through its impact on the acidity levels in the mouth. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar and acid can cause tooth erosion, leading to cavities and other dental problems. For example, frequent consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks, such as sweets, fizzy drinks, energy drinks and citrus fruits, can erode the enamel on the teeth, making them more susceptible to decay.

To maintain good oral health, it is important to limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks. These include those mentioned above as well as sweetened coffee and tea. These foods and drinks can cause tooth erosion and increase the risk of tooth decay. It’s also best to avoid sticky or chewy sweets as they tend to stick to teeth and make it hard to clean.

On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products can help to promote healthy teeth and gums. These foods are high in calcium and phosphorous , which are essential for the development and maintenance of strong teeth and healthy gums. They also contain vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for oral health, such as vitamin C, which helps to fight against gum disease.

Foods and drinks that can help to promote healthy teeth and gums include:

  • Fruits and vegetables that are high in fibre and water content, such as apples, celery, and carrots, can help to clean the teeth and stimulate the production of saliva, which helps to neutralise acid and wash away food particles.
  • Dairy products, such as cheese and plain yogurt, are high in calcium and can help to strengthen teeth.
  • Water is great for oral health as it helps to wash away food particles and neutralise acid.

Remember, it’s not just about what you eat, but also about how often and how much you eat. Eating sugary or acidic foods and drinks as part of a meal is less harmful than snacking on them throughout the day. It’s also important to pay attention to your overall diet and make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need for good oral health. And of course, regular dental health reviews are important to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Weight Management

Another important aspect of diet and oral health is the link between diet and weight management. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing oral health problems, such as gum disease (which is linked with diabetes) and tooth decay. Additionally, people who are overweight may be more likely to have a diet that is high in sugar and processed foods, which can contribute to tooth decay and early onset diabetes.

It’s important to develop a healthy relationship with food as it is known that not eating can also have negative effects on oral health.

Skipping meals can lead to a decrease in the production of saliva, which can cause dry mouth. Saliva is essential for neutralising acid and washing away food particles, so a lack of it can lead to an increase in acidity in the mouth and an increased risk of tooth decay. Additionally, when we skip meals, we might be inclined to snack more on sugary or acidic foods, which can also cause tooth erosion. Skipping meals can also lead to weight loss, and in some cases, malnourishment. Malnutrition can affect the healing process of the gums and can increase the risk of infection. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet to ensure adequate intake of nutrients that are essential for oral health.


It is important to note that certain medical conditions and medications can affect oral health. For example, people with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. People who take medications that cause dry mouth, such as antihistamines or antidepressants, may also be at a higher risk of tooth decay. You should discuss any concerns you have about any medications you are taking and their affects on your oral health with your dentist.

Chewing Gum

Chewing gum can actually be beneficial for oral health. Chewing sugar-free gum can help to stimulate the production of saliva, which can help to neutralise acid and wash away food particles. Chewing gum also helps to keep teeth in motion and prevent plaque buildup. However, it’s important to note that gum should never be used as a replacement for regular brushing and flossing, and it’s best to choose gum that is sweetened with xylitol to avoid the negative effects of sugar.

Best Oral Hygiene Practices

Here are some best practice oral hygiene tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day- last thing at night and at one other time during the day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Floss and/or use interdental brushes at least once a day to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
  • Use an alcohol free mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
  • Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for dental health reviews and cleanings.
  • If you wear dentures, be sure to clean them daily and remove them at night to allow your gums to rest.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as these can increase your risk of oral health problems such as oral cancer.
  • If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances, take extra care to clean your teeth and gums properly.

By following these best practice oral hygiene tips, you can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and reduce your risk of oral health problems. Remember, your diet and oral hygiene practices are closely linked, so it is important to pay attention to both for optimal oral health.

In conclusion, maintaining a healthy diet is essential for good oral health. It is important to limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks and to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight and managing any medical conditions and medications that may affect oral health can help to keep your teeth and gums in great shape. Regular dental health reviews, hygienist visits, and proper oral hygiene practices are also essential for maintaining good oral health.

If you have any concerns about your diet and its impact on your oral health, please don’t hesitate to speak with your dentist.

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