We all know that a proper diet full of fruit and veggies and a low amount of simple carbohydrates and sugars are good for our overall health. Our bodies need food to refuel and get the necessary vitamins and minerals to make them functioning properly and to be strong and resilient in order to fight off disease and sick quicker than injury.

Did you know that proper nutrition also affects the health of your mouth? You likely have heard your dentist mention the limiting of sugar intake such as in the form of candy, pastries, cakes, cookies, fruit juice, soda and energy drinks. You also try and limit how much acidic foods you eat as well as the amount of coffee and tea because you do not want your pearly whites to turn yellow.

But why is nutrition important to your oral health and why does a healthy mouth matter?

A nutritious, balanced diet helps your mouth become stronger and more resilient to tooth decay and gum disease. Like your body, your mouth, particularly your teeth and gums, need certain vitamins and minerals to work and function properly and to fight the inevitable accumulation of cavity and gum disease causing plaque and tartar.

Fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables and water are also beneficial to your oral health by making you use your teeth and gums to chew and to initiate saliva production. Saliva is your body's natural mouth cleanser and it is important in keeping the surface of your teeth, gums and tongue moist, which slows the accumulation of plaque build-up. Saliva also washed away larger germs and food particles from the mouth so they do not have time to get lodged on or between teeth.

A healthy mouth is something we all want. A healthy mouth ensures good looking teeth and gums which lead to a beautiful smile. It also ensures that one will retain more of his or her natural teeth longer which can also cut time and costs at the dental office.

One's oral health, however, goes beyond great-looking, pain-free smile; it also plays a big role in the health of one's body.

There has been more and more research from the Mayo Clinic and others providing that there's a connection between one's oral health and one's overall health. For instance, patients with poor dental hygiene and eating habits not only have a higher risk of cavities, gum disease and tooth loss, but they are also more at risk for heart infections, heart disease and pregnancy / birth complications.

On the flip-side, certain health conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, HIV / AIDS and Alzheimer's Disease can worsen one's oral health.

Good, proper nutrition is key in protecting and maintaining great oral and overall health. While proper nutrition may be hard to fit into one's schedule and it may take effort and discipline, it is more than worth it for not only producing a beautiful smile, but also helping your body stay strong and healthy.

Your oral health is important. Besides proper dental hygiene habits, a daily, nutritious diet will give your mouth and there before overall health a much needed boost to ensure both are working and strong for many years to come.