What you eat could affect your teeth’and not just by leaving sugar behind to promote decay. You probably know that sugary snacks can be bad for your teeth because they can lead to tooth decay. But good nutrition can affect your teeth and gums in a more positive way, according to periodonists. A periodontist is a dentist who treats gum disease, and without healthy gums, you don’t have healthy teeth. According to a poll of perio-dontists, most of them counsel their patients on nutrition. One thing they recommend is taking extra vitamin C. Vitamin C may play a role in building healthy connective tissue in the gums and in fighting infections in the gum tissue. They also recommend calcium, which strengthens the bone around the teeth. About half of the adult U.S. population has some form of gum disease. Most common is gingivitis, which is an early, mild form of gum disease. You may have it if your gums look puffy and if they often bleed when you brush your teeth. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into more serious gum disease. Oral surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that in addition to good nutrition, you can help the health of your gums by following basic oral hygiene advice. Brush your teeth after every meal and floss daily. Visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup. Your dentist can spot gum disease while it’s in the earliest stages so you can prevent more serious’and painful’gum problems.