Does the word “diet” immediately make you think of an unpleasant weight-loss program? If it did, do not worry. You are probably not alone. Today, the use of the term “diet” in marketing for diet foods products usually describes foods low in calories, like diet soda.

But we have forgotten that there is another meaning to this word. Diet may also refer to the food and drink a person consumes daily. It also means the mental and physical circumstances connected to eating. 

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Nutrition primarily involves more than simply eating a “good” diet. A good diet is about nourishment on every level. It involves relationships with family, friends, nature, bodies, community, and the world.

You should understand that choices about nourishment are very much linked to other human beings and other life forms on this planet. Therefore, your healthy decisions have a significant impact.

Diet Food and Oral Health

To prevent tooth cavities and maintain good oral health, you need a proper diet food. What you eat and how often you eat are important factors. Changes start the minute you eat certain foods. 

Once you start biting, bacteria in the mouth convert sugars and carbs from the foods you eat to acids. These acids begin to attack the enamel on teeth, creating the decay process. 

Too many carbohydrates (healthy carbs) from sugars, especially when eating cake, cookies, candies, and savory foods, may cause tooth decay. Even starches like pretzels and potato chips may equally contribute to tooth decay. The more often you eat and snack, the more frequently you expose your teeth to the cycle of decay.

Therefore, you should give yourself enough time between meals. The time between meals will allow the saliva to wash away food particles that bacteria would otherwise feast on. Without brushing your teeth immediately afterward, frequent snacking gives bacteria constant fuel. Therefore, try to limit snacks as much as possible. Only once or twice a day. You may brush your teeth after each snack, if possible.

Mouth-Healthy Foods and Drinks

Do you know that the best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses? Especially aged cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, chicken, and other meats and nuts. Such food items can protect tooth enamel because they have the phosphorus and calcium needed to remineralize teeth. It is a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after acids remove them.

If you are lactose intolerant and can not eat or drink milk products, green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are high in calcium, too.

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Other food items choices include crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, melons, celery, and cucumbers. The high water content of these foods dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain. Moreover, they also stimulate the flow of saliva. More saliva helps protect against decay by washing away your food particles and buffering acid. To minimize the acid from them, you should eat common acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lemons as part of a larger meal.

Mouth Healthy Food to Avoid

Poor food choices for oral health generally include candy such as lollipops, jellybeans, hard candies, and mints. In addition, cakes, cookies, pies, bread, muffins, potato chips, pretzels, and even french fries from poor food choices. Moreover, bananas, granola bars, caramel, honey, molasses, raisins, syrup, and other dried fruits should also be avoided. 

These foods have large amounts of sugar and often stick to your teeth, giving a fuel source for bacteria. Also, note that cough drops should be used only when necessary as they, like sugary candy, coat your teeth with sugar. 

If you plan to give your kid any sweets, give them as desserts immediately following the meal. Around mealtimes, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth. This excess saliva makes it easier to wash food away from your teeth. Moreover, the mealtime beverage also helps to wash away food particles present on your teeth.

The best beverage choices include water, especially fluoridated water and unsweetened tea. Therefore, limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks. It should also include soft drinks, lemonade, coffee, and tea with added sugar. You must also avoid day-long sipping of sugar-containing drinks. Remember that day-long sipping will expose your teeth to constant sugar. In turn, you will have constant decay-causing acids playing their role.

Sugar Substitutes and Sugar-Free Products

You can easily find sugar substitutes available that look and taste like sugar. But the best part is that they are not digested the same way as sugar. So they do not “feed” the bacteria in the mouth and do not produce decay-causing acids. 

These sugar substitutes include erythritol, sorbitol, isomalt, and mannitol. Foods that have the sugar substitute xylitol might actually help prevent cavities. It has been shown to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and the chewing action helps increase the flow of saliva. Other sugar substitutes you can find in the US are a long list.

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Sugar-free or sugarless food sometimes means no sugar added during the processing. But this does not actually mean that the foods do not contain other natural sweeteners. It may contain honey,  evaporated cane sugar, molasses, fructose, barley malt, or rice syrup. Most of these natural sweeteners contain an equal number of calories as sugar, and hence they can be equally harmful to your teeth.

Examine the ingredients label to determine if the sugarless foods you buy contain natural sweeteners. The labels mention all the included ingredients. Words that end in ‘-ose’ like sucrose and fructose, usually indicate the presence of a natural sweetener. On the label, you should look under the section sugars or carbohydrates.

Is Chewing Gum OK for Teeth?

Did you know that chewing sugarless gum is actually beneficial to your teeth? As the chewing process helps dislodge food that becomes stuck to your teeth. In addition, it also increases saliva flow to buffer or neutralize the mouth acids. 

Some chewing gums contain ingredients that often reduce cavities as well as heal areas on the teeth where cavities are beginning.  However, chewing gum can be a problem if you have jaw pain or other similar issues with your jaw.

Teeth and Gum Care Tips

These are some essential tips for caring for teeth and gums:

  • Brush your teeth regularly. Brushing at least twice a day and preferably 30 to 60 minutes after every meal and snack.  If you cannot brush between meals, at least rinse the mouth with water several times.
  • You may use a fluoride-containing toothpaste. The fluoride will seep inside the tooth to reverse early tooth decay.
  • Floss at least once a day as it will help remove particles between your teeth and below the gum line.
  • You should also use a mouth rinse daily.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Typically you should visit twice a year. Getting regular dental checkups will help your dentist catch any developing dental problems early.
  • Eat a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, to maintain overall health. Eat fewer foods containing starches and sugars between your meals. If you must snack, consciously choose nutritious foods. It may include cheese, plain yogurt, raw vegetables, or a firm fruit such as an apple.

Diet Food – Quality and Quantity Matters

It is no secret that the number of calories you eat and drink has a direct impact on your weight: You should consume the same number of calories that your body burns over time. It will help your weight stay stable. If you consume more than your body burns, your weight goes up. If you consume less, your weight goes down. 

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What about the type of calories: Does it matter whether they come from specific nutrients – protein, fat, or carbohydrate? Specific foods-whole grains or potato chips? Specific diets-the “Twinkie” diet or the Mediterranean diet? And what about when you consume your calories. Does eating breakfast make it easier to control weight? Or does eating at fast-food restaurants make it harder?

As you might be aware, there is ample research on foods and diet patterns. The food you eat can protect against heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic conditions. The good news is that many of the foods that help prevent these chronic diseases may also seem to help with weight control foods. These foods may include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and more.