It’s National Nutrition Month, and your dental team here at Marineland Dental Care wants to let you know that your health is important to us. In fact, it’s one of the ways that we determine how successful we are: by your health, your well-being, and your happiness with our care.
We do many things here in Kennewick to keep you healthy, such as performing thorough exams, treating problems, and even performing cosmetic procedures that improve your mouth’s health and your psychological health.
To celebrate National Nutrition Month’s theme of “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” we want to share some important nutrition and health information with you based on some of the areas our practice specializes in. You may find some of the information surprising and even life saving!
Both the causes and the complications of gum disease have a connection to your health, including your nutrition. Doctors call this an oral-systemic connection, and knowing about it could make a dramatic difference in your life.
Gum disease, known as gingivitis in its early stages and periodontitis in its later stages, is caused by bacteria buildup between your teeth that, when left untreated, can lead to swollen and bleeding gums, chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitivity, tooth separation, and even tooth loss.
As unnerving as all of that can be, there’s another greater danger lurking within gum disease, one that’s been discovered recently.
Gum Disease and Your Health
The scary truth is, gum disease has been linked to serious medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, clogged arteries, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of your heart that’s caused by bacteria, possibly from your mouth), diabetes, kidney disease, cancers such as pancreatic and head-and-neck cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory problems, and osteoporosis.
That’s a daunting list of problems, isn’t it?!
We recognize this link at Marineland Dental Care and will work closely with you to help prevent gum disease so that you can potentially lower your risk of developing serious health problems.
Gum Disease, Hygiene, and Diet
One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is to make sure you practice proper hygiene at home. Brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly, but also cut back on sweets and starchy foods, as well as sodas, sugary coffee drinks (our state is known for them, after all), fruit juices sweetened with sugar, bottled iced tea with added sugar, and sports drinks. The sugars from these contribute to plaque buildup and enamel-destroying acid, which can lead to gingivitis.
Also, you might consider munching on foods that HELP your teeth, like milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, chicken, and nuts, which are high in minerals like calcium that help protect your teeth.
Come in for your regular dental cleanings, too—we’ll keep your teeth clean, and if we find signs of periodontitis, we might suggest that you see your doctor for signs of other potential diseases linked with gum disease.
Cavities and Tooth Decay
Not only can a proper diet prove beneficial in preventing gum disease, it can also help prevent cavities.
Don’t think that cavities are just for kids; according to the National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research, more than 90 PERCENT of adults between 20 and 64 have had tooth decay! (Read the study results here.)
Deep cavities can lead to endodontic procedures like root canals, and all cavities and tooth decay can contribute to losing your teeth. And losing your teeth can lead to premature aging and even in extreme cases, lowered life expectancy. Not a great scenario!
Nutrition guidelines are the same in preventing cavities as they are for preventing gum disease. Sodas, we’ll note, are especially notorious for contributing to tooth decay because of their acid-sugar double whammy.
You’ll also want to implement the same at-home care for your teeth to prevent tooth decay—brushing twice a day and flossing once daily—as well as come in twice a year for cleanings with your Kennewick dentist and hygienists.
It’s true that after you get implants, you can eat whatever you would normally eat with your natural teeth! This is why many of our patients choose implants over dentures, which can limit some of the nutrient-rich foods your body needs.
After your implants are placed, however, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals will help the healing process. This includes soft fruits and vegetables, dairy, lean meats, and beans.
But what you really need to remember is that you have to care for your new set of teeth through proper hygiene and nutrition, just as you would your natural teeth.
It’s rare, but people with implants who don’t take care of their new teeth can develop a disease that inflames the tissues surrounding their implants. This can be caused by bad management of certain health conditions like diabetes or osteoporosis (also linked to gum disease!) and bad hygiene.
Let Your Kennewick Team Provide Personalized Care to Help Your Health!
We provide our patients with their own personalized care plan, and one of the things we emphasize is nutrition. Call us or fill out an appointment form online to come in and see how nutrition fits into your dental care plan. We will consider ourselves successful if we can help you out with your health!