12 Factors Impacting Dental Health

Gentle Dental

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While you probably know about the importance of brushing and flossing, and the fact that coffee can stain teeth, you may not be aware that there are many foods, physical conditions, and lifestyle choices that can have a significant impact on your teeth and gums.

We’ve picked out twelve of these to share with you below:

Poor nutrition:

Most people are aware that diets high in sugary junk food can contribute to tooth decay. Another thing to be aware of is that a deficiency in some nutrients can also have a long-term effect on your teeth and gums. Eating a balanced diet, and taking a vitamin supplement if you have concerns about nutritional deficiencies, can help protect your teeth.


Citrus fruits are delicious and contain vital nutrients. However,  the acids they contain can do damage to the enamel of your teeth. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid them entirely, and in fact, you can take a few precautions to minimize the risk of damage. These precautions include drinking fruit juices using a straw so that the liquid bypasses your teeth, as well as rinsing your mouth out with water after consuming fruit or juice.

Tea and red wine:

It’s pretty well-known that coffee stains teeth, but other beverages that can also be culprits. In fact, due to its tannin content, a green tea teeth stain can be worse than coffee stains. Undergoing stained teeth treatment can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to prevent discoloration if possible.

For many people, the trick is to not drink beverages in a way that will stain front teeth. Using a straw helps, as will rinsing your mouth soon after enjoying your drink. Obviously, brushing and flossing is the best preventative, but doing this isn’t always possible during a busy day at work or while running errands.


Researchers are becoming ever more aware of the impact that stress has on our physical health.  It isn’t surprising, then, that recent studies show that stress can have a negative impact on your teeth and gums.  Uncontrolled stress can increase your susceptibility to canker stores and may decrease saliva production. In addition, stress can also cause you to forget or put off brushing and flossing.

Saliva production:

Dry mouth is more than just an annoyance, it can also compromise the health of your teeth and gums. Saliva acts as a buffer against the bacteria in your mouth; dry mouth gives bacteria more opportunity to grow on your teeth and gums. Sipping water, chewing sugar-free gum, and eating raw produce can help stimulate saliva production. If dry mouth is a serious problem, talk to your dentist or doctor about possible treatments.


If you been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be more susceptible to gum disease and dry mouth.  The latter can be a particular problem while you are taking antibiotics. Maintaining a regular oral health regimen and seeing your dentist for professional cleanings and checkups is an important part of overall management of your condition.

Sleep disorders:

Sleep apnea can trigger bruxism, better known as teeth grinding. Over time, teeth grinding can damage your teeth, possibly leading to tooth loss. If you know that you have sleep apnea, talk to your dentist so that he or she can be on the lookout for signs of grinding. If signs of bruxism are present, your dentist may recommend the use of a mouth guard at night.


Snacking can affect your oral health in a couple of ways. The first is that many people find it inconvenient to brush their teeth after a snack.  Plaque has an easier time of developing after you eat, which contributes to truth decay. In addition, some snacks, such as raisins or other dried fruits, can get stuck between your teeth, further accelerating the risk of plaque buildup between teeth.

Acid reflux:

Gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, or GERD,  is characterized by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus and sometimes even reaches the mouth. This can cause significant damage to your teeth. Work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan for the disorder and pay special attention to your oral health regimen.

Mouth breathing:  

If you normally breathe through your mouth, you may have some form of nasal obstruction. Talk to your doctor about treating this condition, because mouth breathing can lead to dry mouth and the oral health problems associated with low saliva production.

Sinus issues:

Chronic sinusitis (inflamed sinuses)  can affect your oral health. The discomfort of inflamed or infected sinuses can sometimes radiate to the top of your mouth, mimicking jaw pain or a toothache. In addition, sinus problems can sometimes lead to bad breath and dry mouth.

Sinus issues should be monitored and treated by a medical doctor, though you should also notify your dentist of your condition. You may need to schedule more frequent checkups and cleanings to keep your mouth healthy.


Recent research connects some pharmaceuticals to oral health problems such as gum tissue inflammation and the need for close monitoring after dental extractions and oral surgery.  Keep your dentist up-to-date about any medications that you are taking. In addition, if you plan to have an invasive dental procedure, talk to both your doctor and your dentist to ensure that your care is managed properly.

Final Word

As research progresses, the medical and dental communities will have a better understanding of oral health and ways in which we can protect our teeth and gums.  For now, living a healthy lifestyle, reducing stress, and partnering with medical professionals can go a long way toward improving the health and appearance of your smile.

One thing that you can do, right now, his schedule an appointment with a dentist at one of our neighborhood Gentle Dental offices. We make it easy for you to get the dental care you need even with a busy schedule: We offer evening and weekend appointments and accept most major insurance plans and credit cards. We also offer a discount plan and financing options.