By Dr Yannopulos · Published February 21, 2023

Dental health through food and lifestyle habits

Dental health through food and lifestyle habits preview image

Preview image for Dental health through food and lifestyle habits

You are what you eat. And your teeth reflect your food habits and your lifestyle.

The body is a marvel of nature, made up of trillions of cells, which are assigned various duties. All the cells are set out to do their job effectively wherever they are placed in the body. Problems arise only when one set of organs are not looked after well by us and they hinder the work of other parts also. This is where our food habits and life style come in.

Teeth are an important part of our body machinery. Health of the teeth is directly associated with many other minor and major ailments of the body. Therefore, it is vital to look after your teeth and keep them in perfect working condition.

How does food intake affect your health of teeth and in turn your overall health?

The selection of food you choose to eat, the time at which you eat them and how much you eat – all these affect your teeth and your overall health.

The basic rule of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy is to keep them clean at all times and especially when your teeth are resting, that is during night when teeth are not being used. Tooth decay occurs when teeth are not clean and food particles are stuck to your teeth and between teeth and gums. These food particles are broken down in sugar by mouth bacteria. The mouth harbours various kinds of bacteria at any given time. These bacteria break down the food to the sugar and when bacteria work on sugar, it produces acid, which is harmful for the gums and teeth. The acid eats away at the roots and the soft tissues in and around the teeth which make the teeth weak and fall off from their roots. Before the teeth falls of, the whole process becomes very painful and brings on multiple problems in the mouth.

How does lifestyle affect your teeth and general health?

Along with the food, the lifestyle also directly affects your teeth, which in turn is reflected in your general health. Lifestyle includes what kind of foods you eat most of the time, how much of that food you eat, and at what time of day and night you eat these foods.

In addition to eating your desired foods, it is also important to keep in mind how well you take care of your teeth.

If you are very fond of chocolates for example, and eat them regardless of time of the day, it is likely to be reflected in your teeth health. It is very important to brush your teeth after eating chocolates or any sweet foods, because the sugar in these foods has a habit of sticking to your teeth even after you finish eating them. If you don’t brush your teeth after eating sweets, the bacteria in the mouth keep working on these sugars which will ultimately harm your teeth.

Even after you have brushed your teeth, there is a possibility of food getting stuck between your teeth. This food can be removed from your mouth only with the help of flossing. Without flossing, the bacteria will turn these into acids, leading to tooth decay.

How can we control tooth decay?

Tooth decay is the single most disease affecting children in America and the world. It is single most chronic health issue that affects as young children, even toddlers.

To prevent tooth decay, we must consider the choice we make about our foods. Read the nutritional facts on all labels.

It is important for parents to make wise choices for their children. Foods that contain any kind of sugars should be controlled while children are young, and throughout adulthood as well. It is important to read the labels before you buy foods for children. Sodas that contain empty calories, without any other nutrients should be avoided completely or kept to a minimum. Sodas, candies, cookies, chocolates and pastries are some of the foods that contain high amounts of sugar. When children are young, it is best to consult your paediatrician and ask her to provide a list of suitable products for your child to consume.


Even if your foods contain less sugar, it is advisable to brush your teeth before going to bed. Your mouth has a long period of inactivity during the night, leading to increased bacterial activities. Brushing your teeth at regular intervals is therefore vital to prevent tooth decay. The best rule of thumb is to brush your teeth every single day before going to bed. Also, brush your teeth after every meal to prevent decay of teeth.


Flossing is as important as brushing. There may be food particles that are stuck between teeth or sometimes between gums and teeth. These tiny particles may not be removed only with brushing. They need to be removed with the help of thread that is run between the teeth. Flossing should be done at least once a day to keep your teeth healthy.

Visit the dentist

It is very important to visit your dentist regularly. Regular visits to your dentist will ensure not only good dental care, but also your general wellbeing.

Tips to keep your teeth and your body fit.

It is believed that good balanced diet helps keep you fit generally along with good dental hygiene.

  • Include lots of fibre in your diet, which is found in fresh and dry fruits and vegetables, including green leafy vegetables.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Snacks should be less and far between. Anything eaten during the meal has a better chance getting washed down because more saliva is produced during a meal, rather than during eating in between full meals. Saliva prevents foods from remaining in mouth causing bacterial growth.

  • Use good fluoride toothpaste.

  • Visit your dentist regularly.