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Posted Oct 01 2008 10:32pm
Dental disease is as related to overeating as it is to diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. How and what you eat affects your general health, which affects your oral health, which affects your general health. It’s all connected!

Poor nutrition means a poor diet. Eat food high in nutrients to fight off infections.

1. Poor nutrition can affect your immune system and cause periodontal disease and tooth decay, as well as make you susceptible to other illnesses.
2. People with lowered immune systems are at a higher risk for periodontal disease.

Every time you eat food containing sugar (cake, candy, cookies, dried fruit) or starch (pasta, potatoes), your teeth are attacked for 20 minutes or longer by acids. Food eaten as part of a meal causes less harm because more saliva is released during a meal helping to wash food from your mouth so the acids have less of an effect on your teeth.

Eat chips, cookies, or crackers as part of a meal so the combination of food will neutralize the acids in your mouth and restrict tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Most of us need to improve our diets anyway. Eating too much of anything is bad for our health.

If you snack, eat nutritious foods like cheese (unless you have high cholesterol), fruit, plain yogurt, or steamed vegetables. Fruits with high vitamin C content (grapefruit and oranges) are good for your gums and teeth.

The five major food groups that make up a nutritious, well-balanced diet are:

1. Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta.
2. Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts.
3. Milk, yogurt, and cheese.
4. Fruits and vegetables.
5. Fats, oils, and sweets (I know they’re your favorites, but use them sparingly).

Stay away from fad diets because they can limit entire food groups and reduce your vitamin and mineral intake.

Drink as much water as you can (day and night) to keep your mouth moist and stimulate saliva. Saliva protects your hard and soft oral tissues.

Special dietary care and concern should be taken into consideration by and for elderly people. Tooth loss, pain, and joint dysfunction (arthritis) have been found to diminish the chewing abilities of elderly people who are on restrictive diets and under medical treatment. These people may be isolated or too weak to shop for, prepare, and/or eat the nutritional meals so vital to their existence.

What I know for sure it that it’s all connected.

Visit, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) at, and the National Institutes of Health at for more information on developing better eating habits.

Saundra Goodman is the author of an inspiring and invaluable book titled Got Teeth? A Survivor’s Guide, How to keep your teeth or live without them. Saundra is an expert on how to have and keep a beautiful smile, even with replacement teeth.

Visit to learn what you can do for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren.

You may publish my article in your newsletter, on your web site, or in your publication provided you publish the entire article and include the resource box at the end. Notification would be appreciated, but it is not required.
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