Is diet more important than brushing for dental health?

Is diet more important than brushing for dental health

We often say that there are 4 keys to good dental health: brush, floss, mouthwash and regular dentist visits. So if you want to have healthier and cavity-free teeth, just follow these four steps.

Today’s dentistry has found pretty impressive ways on how to eliminate the No. 1 cause of dental problems – cavity. But there’s one thing that dentistry still can’t fix, and that is your diet.

Diet now and diet before

Many, many years ago, people hunted and forages for food. As a result, our bodies have evolved to match these dietary habits. In the old days, people’s diet usually included:

  • Meat from animals
  • Fish and seafood
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seed and
  • In some civilizations oils or butters

Now many of you think that in ancient times, people had terrible teeth. But the fact is, back then people had way better dental health compared to the developed world today.

Back in the 1930s, when dentists compared the teeth and diet of native tribes to the modern world, the differences were staggering. Members of native tribes had straight and disease-free teeth and their diets significantly differed from the modern world.

It’s no surprise that when one generation started eating starchy, bread-laden and processed food, they quickly started showing signs of orthodontic problems and cavities.

What’s the modern diet lacking?

The two diets not only differ in sugar, bread and processed food. Scientist also noted that native tribes all consume a type of nutrient they called “activator X”. Some believe the this is the first discover of vitamin K2.

To further elaborate, vitamin K2 is essential for proper calcium distribution that makes your teeth and bones stronger. Without a good calcium distribution, which also requires vitamins A and D, your teeth will most likely develop decay and cavities.

Another potential reason why native tribe have much better dental health is that the texture of their diet is quite diverse, unlike our ‘modern’ diet. When you eat different type of food, meat, seeds, fresh greens…these come in various textures for mastication. And through the chewing (mastication) process, they clean their teeth and keep them plaque-free.

Saliva is vital for good dental health

In order to protect your teeth from cavities and decay, your saliva, or spit, must be in good shape. Brushing teeth on one hand does remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth, but it does very little to improve the quality of your saliva. One of the major factors in this is your diet.

So in order to have a healthy saliva, we recommend that you eat nutrient-dense food, artificial sugars, empty calories and acidic ingredients.

Brushing still matters for good dental health

Even though we’ve established that a well-balanced and healthy diet is vital for good dental health, this doesn’t mean that you should stop brushing. You should brush your teeth, at least twice a day.

When we brush our teeth, we clean the harmful bacteria and prevent them from ‘acid attacks’ which harm our enamel.

Brushing your teeth is not a time consuming commitment. It takes only a few minutes per day and with the right type of toothpaste (with hydroxyapatite or fluoride) you can reap huge benefits.

And remember, scheduling regular dentist appointment at least twice a year is also beneficial. Make sure to contact us today and make an appointment.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”