Does What I Eat Affect My Oral Health?

food and oral health

food and oral healthServing patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville TN

A poor diet can result in plenty of general health issues, but there’s also a strong correlation between what you eat and the state of your oral health. Your diet can affect the condition of your teeth and gums, as well as the health of the tissues in your mouth. Read on as your Greeneville family dentist at Tusculum Care explores how what you eat impacts your oral wellness.

You are what you eat

Food and beverages that are highly acidic can break down and erode the enamel on your teeth, especially if those acids linger on your mouth due to sporadic brushing. If your diet doesn’t include foods that are high in nutrients, you also may be more susceptible to oral infection. On your next trip to the grocery store, consider picking up some foods that will be more beneficial to your oral health.

4 Ways your diet and oral health are connected

Tooth decay

When you eat sugary foods, bacteria feed on the sugars left behind on teeth and release acids that begin to break down enamel. Without proper oral care, this process accelerates. Limiting the amount of sugar in your diet can help you avoid both cavities and enamel damage. Check ingredients lists for things ending in ‘ose’ (such as glucose, fructose, or sucrose), which all are sugar products.


Eventually, decay creates a hole in your tooth, which is called a cavity. This can happen more easily if food particles get stuck between your teeth, providing a source of fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. If those foods are high in carbohydrates, the bacteria proliferate. If not addressed, small cavities can grow over time and can destroy an entire tooth. This is a significant cause of tooth loss in adults and can be quite painful.

Some symptoms of a cavity include:

  • Toothaches or pressure
  • Heightened sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks
  • Pain when biting down
  • A pit or hole in the tooth that is visibility apparent or detected in an X-ray

Gum health

The bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay can spread to your gums, causing the infection that leads to gum disease. What you eat can also play a part in the deterioration of your gums. If your diet consists of mostly refined carbohydrates and sugars, it can lead to gum inflammation and the formation of plaque. Gum disease is also a significant cause of tooth loss in adults. Thankfully, a change in your diet and a consistent oral care routine can assist you in preventing gum disease.

Missing teeth

Missing teeth affect your appearance and create a hole in your smile, but living with lost teeth limits your ability to eat and chew. You may lose a tooth due to significantly evolved gum disease, tooth decay, an accident or a number of other oral ailments. What foods you eat can have a significant effect on your oral health. Avoiding, or at least limiting, the amount of sugary and acidic foods you consume will help you preserve your oral health for years to come.

Dental Nutritional Advice in Greeneville, Jonesborough and Erwin in Tennessee

At Tusculum Dental Care, we are committed to helping you preserve your smile and achieving your oral goals. That’s why we offer nutritional counseling during each of your regularly scheduled check-ups. Our professional team can advise you on which foods to avoid and help you strengthen your oral health every day. Visit us online or give us a call at (423) 639-7575 to schedule an appointment today.