We all have probably heard that consuming overly-sugary foods and beverages can lead to tooth decay, but did you also know that your mouth is likely to be the first place to indicate signs of poor nutrition? It’s true. Evidence of poor nutrition is evident, usually, within the mouth before it shows in areas of the body. Everything you eat and drink has an impact, no matter how small or how brief, on your dental health.

Nutrition depends on many things; to consider nutrition per the recommended guidelines developed by the Department of Agriculture, a person’s nutrition depends on age, gender, level of activity, and other inherent health factors. This means that calories and other dietary restrictions are based on several different factors, and that no two people are exactly alike, but everyone’s diet should have balance and moderation. For instance, unless a person has certain dietary restrictions that prevent it, people should consume lots of fruits and vegetables. Also, grains are important—of course, again, this depends on dietary restrictions—and foods such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice are an especially important part of our diet. Dairy should be low-fat and limited to moderation, and foods that are rich in protein such as fish and skinless meat—remember that certain meats can be hard on the body and should be consumed in moderation—but also protein-rich foods such as legumes—i.e. beans and lentils.

While a diet is an incredibly important aspect to full body health, quality dental health depends also on several other factors that include: the frequency a person eats—regular snacking is not recommended, because it’s hard to keep the teeth clean—the combinations of foods a person consumes in one sitting, and any other conditions—gastrointestinal problems and systemic diseases such as diabetes—which may alter the way our bodies process food.

Remember, our mouths are one of many of the components to full body health, and oral health is not only about just twice daily brushings one once daily flossing—although these are very, very important components.