There is way too much information about nutrition’s role in dentistry to cram into one little blog post. However, maybe I can introduce a little more information to you that maybe you’ve never considered before.
Dentistry is all about teeth and oral health. Patients don’t usually show up expecting to hear dietary advice other than “Stay away from sugar. It will rot your teeth.” Yes, sugar is the number one preferred cuisine for the bad bacteria dwelling in your mouth, and it will definitely cause those bacteria to excrete acidic waste that causes cavities and infections. But that, in addition to brushing and flossing every day, surely isn’t the only thing to consider when looking out for the health of your teeth.
Your teeth are bones. How do you keep the rest of your bones healthy? Your teeth have nerves and blood vessels running through them. How do you maintain healthy nerves, blood, and nutrient levels? Your gums are soft tissues serving as protection and support. How do you take care of your skin and the rest of your organs and muscle tissue?
Endless cleaning and dental visits can actually do very little to build and preserve strong, healthy teeth that last well into old age. It’s like taking care of a car. You don’t merely wash it over and over again and expect that to keep it functioning for a long time. You have to go under the hood, getting to the machinery and the mechanics “behind the scenes.” That’s where you can ensure the car will run well.
Back to your teeth: what makes the biggest difference is nutrition! A healthy, strong body will give you healthy, strong teeth. Likewise, malnourishment will give you crooked, weak, painful, and vulnerable teeth. Thus, poor tooth health is an indication that the rest of your body is not faring well, either, and no amount of diligent cleaning will ensure lifelong resilience.
So the main idea to focus on is the fact that food itself coming into direct contact with your teeth is not what you should worry about (but don’t go munching on lemons every day, now). Rather, be mindful about everything you consume because you’re now looking out for your whole body, not just your teeth.
Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles