MONTANA DENTAL WORKS
Montana’s Top Rated Local® General and Implant Dentistry
MONTANA DENTAL WORKS
Dental Health in Kalispell, MT
Understanding What Affects the Health of Your Smile
The health of your smile plays an integral role in your overall health. While it’s essential that you maintain healthy oral hygiene habits, you can better protect your smile if you know what negatively affects it.
Your Smile and Your Diet
Your body works hard to convert the foods you eat into energy. You may not think twice about what you are eating — especially when it comes to grabbing an afternoon snack or sipping on a vanilla latte on your commute. But the food you put in your mouth affects more than just your waistline. The truth is, your diet has a direct effect on your overall dental health.
Developing good eating habits can lead to excellent oral health that’s free from decay or gum disease. The American Dental Association recommends avoiding certain foods that can expedite decay, such as foods high in sugar.
Need a dentist to examine your dental health? Schedule your appointment today!
Conditions that Affect Your Oral Health
While your diet plays a significant role in your oral health, multiple medical conditions can affect your smile as well, including:
- Diabetes: If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to suffer from gum disease because it reduces your body’s resistance to infection.
- HIV/AIDS: Oral issues, such as chronic dry mouth or oral warts, are common in patients who have HIV/AIDS.
- Alzheimer’s disease: As the disease progresses, patients’ oral health worsens.
- Eating Disorders: Eating disorders limit the nutrients that your body and smile receive. Additionally, patients who have bulimia typically engage in self-induced vomiting, which continuously covers teeth with acid from the stomach.
- Osteoporosis: This disease makes your bones weak and brittle, and it can be linked to tooth loss.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: RA (rheumatoid arthritis) causes severe inflammation, and it can affect TMJ (temporomandibular joint), making opening and closing your mouth difficult.
- Sjogren’s syndrome: Inflammation blocks the salivary glands, leading to cavities, severe oral hygiene, and even tooth loss.
Bad Habits and Your Oral Health
Among the many other factors that can lead to poor oral health, bad habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption put you at risk of developing dental diseases.
If you drink alcohol, only drink in moderation. Patients who suffer from alcohol use disorder tend to have higher plaque levels and experience tooth loss more frequently. Beyond the sugar content, dark-colored drinks can cause stains. Alcohol also dries out your mouth, eliminating the first line of defense for your smile — saliva.
It’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health, so it’s not surprising that cigarettes and chewing tobacco are harmful to your oral health as well. While tobacco use of any kind is linked to bad breath, the adverse effects don’t stop there. Other possible oral health risks associated with smoking include:
- Oral cancer
- Stained teeth and tongue
- Slower healing response after dental procedures
- Gum disease
- Dulled sense of taste and smell
How to Protect Your Oral Health
The best way to defend your smile from damage is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Strong oral hygiene habits include brushing twice a day and flossing after meals. However, there’s more you can do to protect your smile.
For example, one way to protect and strengthen your teeth is by choosing to eat a healthy diet and refrain from snacking between meals. Healthy foods such as leafy greens and nuts act as natural toothbrushes, cleaning the surfaces of your teeth as you chew. Snacking between meals allows food particles and bacteria to sit on your teeth longer than they normally would.
Other oral care tips are as follows:
- Replace your toothbrush every three months. Frayed toothbrush bristles aren’t effective and leave plaque and bacteria on your teeth.
- Schedule routine visits with Dr. McAllister. The more often you can get a professional cleaning, the better — it also gives him time to examine your oral structure for signs of dental issues.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Should I change my eating habits to better my oral health?
Probably. But never start a new diet without first consulting with your physician. If you are on a special diet, be sure to speak with your dentist about the types of foods you should be eating that comply with your diet and can also optimize your oral health.
What types of changes will my dentist recommend?
In addition to avoiding sugary foods, the ADA recommends drinking plenty of water each day and avoiding snacks between meals whenever possible. It is also important to consume nutritious foods from each of the major food groups, including whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and fruits. Not only will you improve the health of your teeth and gums, but you may also drop a pant size!
Are there any other habits I should be adopting to improve my oral health?
Yes. You should be flossing daily and brushing twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should also be visiting your local dentist at least twice per year for oral exams and professional dental cleanings.