It’s no secret that our oral health is closely linked to our overall well-being. But how can you improve both your oral and general health by making smart diet, lifestyle, and dental choices? In this post, we’ll go over some tips you can start implementing right away to develop healthier habits!
How healthy habits improve your dental health
When it comes to staying healthy there’s no question that nutrition plays an important role. Maintaining a diet rich in fats and sugars raises your chances of developing many health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and, yes: oral health issues.
When you eat certain types of food (such as candy, and some carbonated beverages), bacteria in your mouth produce acid that can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay and other problems over time.
But don’t panic! Developing a healthier lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to give up your favorite treats — it’s mostly a matter of balance. So, if you want to make some changes in your lifestyle, it may be better to take baby steps rather than try to completely change your habits all at once.
What oral health problems can you prevent with good lifestyle choices?
Simple changes in your daily habits can reduce your risk of developing a wide range of health conditions, including those that affect your oral health, like:
- Tooth decay. The sugar in candy and soda is a major culprit behind tooth decay. Cutting down on sugar intake will help save your teeth from decay over time.
- Gum disease. If you smoke, this increases your risk of periodontal disease by causing inflammation in your gums. Quitting smoking and practicing good dental hygiene will significantly reduce your chances of developing this condition.
- Oral cancer. Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption also increase your risk of developing oral cancer, which can affect your tongue, throat, gums, and other areas of your mouth.
How to develop a healthier lifestyle
1. Avoid sugary foods
Sugar increases acid production in your mouth, which can cause tooth decay. Consuming a lot of sugar-high foods and carbonated beverages may cause acid to remain in your mouth for a long time, increasing your risk of tooth decay or gum disease.
If you like eating sugary foods, we recommend that you do it occasionally and drink water afterward to neutralize some of the effects of sugar on your teeth. If you like to drink soda or other sugary drinks, consider drinking unflavored sparkling water instead.
2. Drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water is one of the best things you can do for your overall health — and the same holds for your oral health!
Water helps to keep your mouth clean. It dilutes food debris in your mouth and washes it away from your teeth and gums. Drinking water also keeps saliva flowing, which helps neutralize acids produced by bacteria on teeth and gums, and prevents dry mouth problems as well as other oral issues.
3. Eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet is important for overall health, but it’s also key to maintaining a healthy smile. Here are some tips for eating right:
- Limit the amount of sugar, salt, and saturated fat in your diet. These foods can increase plaque buildup on your teeth.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables. They contain vitamins and minerals that help maintain your teeth strong and healthy.
- Choose whole grains (corn, quinoa, whole-grain bread and pasta) over refined ones such as white bread or white rice.
4. Avoid tobacco and vaping products
Besides increasing your risk for respiratory problems, tobacco products can also have an impact on oral health. Tobacco use can lead to oral cancer, tooth discoloration, gum disease, dry mouth, and bad breath.
If you are not a smoker yourself, you may think you have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, many people who don’t smoke are still at risk for these issues because of secondhand smoke exposure. So even if you don’t smoke but someone close to you does, it’s important that you talk to them about the importance of quitting.
5. Avoid alcohol consumption
Heavy alcohol consumption can have serious effects on your general health, making you more prone to cardiovascular problems, liver disease, different types of cancer, and other issues.
It can also cause tooth decay and is a contributing factor to gum disease. It can also lead to dry mouth, which causes bad breath, too. So if you enjoy having a glass or two, that’s fine, but try to do it occasionally. Remember, balance is everything!
6. Visit your dentist regularly
Regular visits to the dentist can improve your dental health and overall well-being. Dentists are trained to identify problems that may not be obvious. Early detection of potential issues can lead to faster treatment and better outcomes.
So, don’t put off regular visits to the dentist. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health!
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important
Research shows that nutrition and other factors can affect both your oral health and general well-being. It’s no surprise then that certain foods and drinks have been linked to specific conditions or diseases.
Still, remember that developing healthier habits doesn’t have to imply a drastic change in your life. If you want to learn how to build a healthier lifestyle, our dental practice in Chicago provides a whole-body approach, and our experienced dentists can help you make the right decisions to enjoy a healthier mouth and body. Book online or call us at (312) 368-8771. We are excited to help you!