Why nutrition is important to oral health
There exists a bidirectional relationship between nutrition and oral health while poor oral health and hygiene affects an individual’s nutritional status, poor nutrition equally impacts oral health.
Common nutritional deficiencies, metabolic diseases and some degenerative diseases exhibit their early signs intra orally before appearing physically.
Careful examination of the oral cavity may reveal underlying conditions with manifestations, such as ulceration, plaques, swelling, pigmentation and erosion.
Nutritional intake influences the oral tissues which bind the epithelium, collagen and bone, as well as the saliva that provide an effective barrier against physical and chemical irritants and bacterial penetration.
Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals have a negative impact on oral health; vitamin C and vitamin D deficiency reduces the production of mucin, which weakens salivary flow and tooth integrity and damages healthy connective tissues respectively.
Additionally, periodontal health is strongly related to diet in that calcium builds the bone that support the teeth, strengthens gums and teeth and when combined with phosphate they form the teeth structure whereas vitamin D boosts mineral density and helps absorb, carry and deposit Calcium.
On the other hand, phosphorous and vitamin K naturally help protect and rebuild tooth enamel and bind Calcium for bone growth and density.
Eating a variety of foods like tofu, canned salmon, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables, lean meat, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, potatoes, dairy and dairy products help promote optimum nutrition, healthy gums and teeth.
Food choices and eating patterns should be monitored from childhood throughout adulthood to old age to ensure that teeth grow well and dental hygiene is maintained.
Apart from the choice of food, some beneficial manners to adopt, include brushing teeth after every meal, including snacks, flossing, drinking water and going for oral checkups.