Is your diet at the root of your dental issue?

Is your diet at the root of your dental issue?

Charlottesville dentistsWe all know that what we eat is important for our health and wellbeing but sometimes we overlook the fact that our diet affects our oral health, too. This is why a dentist will ask questions about your dietary and lifestyle habits during dental checkups. Understanding what patients eat and don’t eat is important for managing the risk for certain diseases.

Food for Bacteria

Is what you eat fuel for your body, or is it fuel for bacteria? If you eat a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars, then chances are the food you eat is feeding the bacteria in your mouth. Sugars (of all kinds) serve as a natural food source for bacteria. With a food source, bacteria will colonize beyond control. Excessive bacteria growth can alter oral pH and create an environment that is ideal for damaging teeth.

Dry Mouth

The food you eat can affect saliva production. Saliva is nature’s way of rinsing debris and bacteria from the mouth. It is also important for managing acid levels in the oral cavity. Acid is dangerous to teeth because it softens tooth enamel. When we eat foods heavy in salt and do not drink enough water to stay hydrated, our mouths will be drier than they should. With a lack of saliva to help control acid, dry mouth can contribute to decay and damage of tooth structure.

Exacerbating Health Conditions that Affect the Mouth

A number of health conditions affect oral health. For instance, diabetes is a common culprit behind an increased risk for infections of soft oral tissue since bacteria will grow substantially when diabetes is not managed. Moreover, diabetes can have a drying effect on the mouth. Both of these issues create an unhealthy oral environment. By controlling diabetes with medication and a doctor-approved diet, you can help prevent issues that might affect your teeth and gums.

Uncontrolled dental issues can lead to the need for extensive and specialized care. If you have been referred to our practice by your dentist, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to schedule an appointment with our oral surgeon.