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Your nutrition directly impacts your susceptibility to gum disease and tooth decay. The nutrients in the food you eat are distributed to strengthen your whole body, including your teeth. And believe it or not, your oral health is just as affected by what you consume as the rest of your body is. In other words, if you have a poor diet, then you’ll see this manifest in your oral health.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a healthy and balanced diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and protein.

Many people choose to snack on sweets or chips, which are foods that aid in producing the acids which attack your tooth enamel and promote tooth decay. Remember, if you absolutely have to sneak a snack, choose something healthy, like vegetables. Limiting your snacking as much as possible is also strongly encouraged for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

The bacteria in your mouth use carbohydrates for food. If you reduce your sugar intake, you lower your risk of developing cavities from tooth decay. So, candies and other confections, such as cookies, cakes and hard candies are especially detrimental to your dental health, because they are both poor in nutritional value and rich in the sugars that feed acid-producing bacteria.

By the way, as you might have expected, exercise and physical fitness are also important to maintaining great oral health.