The common saying ‘you are what you eat’ applies to more areas of your personal health than you may think. Good oral health is affected in part by your diet, because the food you eat gives you the nutrients your body needs to renew tissues and fight infection in your bones, teeth, and gums.
Intra-oral dental assistants work closely under the supervision of a dentist to maintain, treat, and ensure their client’s good oral care. They may also serve as a form of infection control, which means that they must be familiar with which personal behaviours influence a client’s oral health, including their diet. Sugary foods, fad diets, starches, and even supplements can all have a negative effect on oral health, and it’s important to understand how this can lead to a client frequently (or infrequently) coming in for treatment.
If you’re interested in entering a new and rewarding career as an intra-oral dental assistant, read on to find out what you should know about the role nutrition plays in oral health.
Dental Assistants Know Good Nutrition Helps Prevent Periodontal Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common dental problems you may see as an intra-oral dental assistant. Our gums—or gingivae—are tissues which help our teeth stay in place.
Foods which are high in carbohydrates, sugars, and starches can contribute to the buildup of bacterial plaque in our gums, which weaken the enamel of our teeth as well as the tissue of our gums, and can lead to cavities or infection if left untended.
In order to reduce the risk of periodontal disease, clients should try to limit the amount of sugary snacks, carbonated or fruit drinks, and acidic foods or beverages they consume, as these can all lead to plaque and tartar buildup.
It’s also a good idea to visit the dentist once every six months, as professional cleanings can help keep plaque under control and remove it from places which may be hard for a client to reach on their own. If you’re interested in learning the best techniques to tackle plaque and prevent periodontal disease, dental assistant training covers the finer points of good oral care, such as anatomy, physiology, infection control, and preventive dentistry.
Dental Assistant Training Can Teach You Which Foods to Recommend
The food a person eats has such a direct effect on oral health because the mouth is the first point of contact for the food and drinks they consume. Preventive dentistry is an important part of the job if you want to become a dental assistant, and practicing proper nutrition is one of the key aspects which can help clients avoid experiencing recurrent or frequent problems with their oral health.
Empty calorie foods may be fun to eat, but they don’t offer much nutritional value. Candy, sweets, and fast food often contain high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, and fats, which—as we’ve learned before—can cause the buildup of bacteria in the teeth and gums. Drinks like soda, lemonade, and sweetened coffee can create a sugar bath over your teeth as you drink them, which can hasten tooth decay as the sugar and acids weaken the enamel and surrounding tissues.
There are some foods, however, which promote good oral health. Dairy products such as plain yogurt and cheese have high amounts of calcium, and protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, and eggs contain good sources of phosphorus—two minerals which can protect and strengthen tooth enamel. Fruits and vegetables provide water and fiber, which can help clean the teeth by stimulating saliva production that washes away bacteria and neutralizes acid.
Are you ready to take the next steps towards your future career in dental health?
Contact KLC College for more information about our dental assistant diploma program.