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Nutrition plays an important role in both your general and oral health. Without a balanced diet, you're more likely to suffer from tooth decay and gum disease. Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids which then causes plaque. Plaque, the sticky film that grows on and around your teeth, is the primary cause of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss in adults. Foods containing sugars and starches are the harshest on your teeth. Nutritional hints for good dental health include eating a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Also, limit snacking as the acids from sugars and starches attack your teeth for at least 20 minutes after eating. Nutritious foods such as cheese, fruits, raw vegetables, and yogurt are recommended as healthy snacks. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm than snacking since more saliva is released during a meal, which helps to wash food particles from your mouth and lessen the effects of acid. As good nutrition affects your general health, you are less likely to experience any medical problems that may also affect the strength of your teeth. In addition, some medications and medical conditions cause halitosis. Good oral health doesn't mean that you need to avoid certain foods, simply limiting snacking or snacking on nutritious items is a step in preserving good oral health. As always, brush and floss a minimum of twice daily and visit your dentist on a regular basis.