Dental health is more important than most people realize. And nutrition plays a big role in this. Want to know what to eat to keep your teeth and gums strong? Chew on this!

Our teeth may be small. But they, and our gums, are a lot more important to our health than many of us realize. Without teeth, we can’t chew. Imagine that. No more crunchy raw vegetables and fruits! No more nuts! No more peanut brittle! (Um… did I just say that?) And here’s an interesting fact: People with 25 or more teeth tend to eat more nutritiously. (Apart from peanut brittle, that is.)

Not sure how many teeth you have? Go ahead, do a quick count.

We need healthy teeth and gums to eat nutritious foods. And we need to eat nutritious foods for healthy teeth. As children, our diet influences how our teeth develop. And once we’re grown, with all teeth in place, what we eat plays a role in maintaining dental health.

If we don’t take care of our teeth and gums, we risk tooth decay, gum disease, and even bone loss.

Meanwhile, the state of our teeth and gums can often signal systemic problems, including cardiovascular disease, celiac disease, diabetes, sinus infection, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux, alcoholism, and more. In fact, your dentist can sometimes diagnose these conditions before your doctor!