Does Your Diet Affect Your Oral Health?

Eating a healthy diet and avoiding candy and sugary drinks improves our oral health and our overall general health.

What are the best foods and nutrients to eat or drink for optimal oral health?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, the best foods to eat are grass-fed dairy, fatty fish, cocoa nibs, grapefruits, oranges, leafy vegetables. Those are the good ones.

How does a poor diet, including candy, soda and junk food, negatively affect your oral health?

Dr. John Vitale: Basically, it affects your general health and your oral health. You could end up with diabetes, gum disease, plaque in your mouth, increased bacteria, all negative effects.

How can some fad diets and cleanses like the grapefruit diet, actually damage your teeth?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, the grapefruit diet, which calls for a glass of grapefruit juice or eating grapefruits at every meal, that contains high acid, and the high acid in your mouth can damage the enamel on your teeth, causing your teeth to become extremely sensitive over time and possibly need to be restored.

Why does frequent snacking in between meals adversely affect your oral health?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, it’s not so much the frequent snacking that adversely affects your oral health; it’s your inability to brush after you eat a snack. We don’t carry toothbrushes with us and have 10 snacks a day and brush our teeth 10 times, so unfortunately, snacks remain on your teeth. You end up with plaque formation. You end up with decay. You could end up with gum disease and things like that, which is not good.

Does chewing gum have any effect on our oral health?

Dr. John Vitale: Actually, chewing gum if it’s sugar-free can be advantageous for oral health because sugar-free gum increases the flow of saliva in the person’s mouth, and when you have an increase of saliva, you generally have a decrease in plaque formation because the saliva washes the plaque away, and so it’s good.

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