Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Teeth!
You can't be healthy without oral health, and you can't have good oral health without good nutrition.
We'll expand on the idea that good nutrition is the key to overall health, both general and oral. In other words, what's good for the whole body is good for your teeth, gums and other oral tissues. We need good nutrition and dietary practices throughout life, for the formation, development and continued health of our oral tissues and structures, as well as those in the rest of the body.
First, a little clarification: even though the terms “nutrition” and “diet” are often used interchangeably, they aren't synonymous. Nutrition is the end effect of food in the body; diet is an individual's eating habits or food choices. Both play important roles in health.Foods are the substances we eat that provide the essential components of life — the nutrients.
Nutrients can be classified into six major categories:
- Carbohydrates (sugars, starches, and fibers)
- Proteins (from animal and vegetable sources)
- Fats (preferably from vegetable sources in liquid form)
Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups promotes healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein foods, calcium-rich foods and whole grains provides essential nutrients for optimum oral health as well as overall health.
Foods for Optimum Oral Health
Calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, fortified soy drinks and tofu, canned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables help promote strong teeth and bones.
Phosphorus, found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts and beans is good for strong teeth.
Vitamin C , promotes gum health, so eat plenty of citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes and spinach.
Smart snacking also can keep your mouth in good shape. Resist the urge to snack frequently — the more often you eat, especially between meals, the more likely you are to introduce acid attacks on your teeth. If you do snack, choose wisely. Forgo sugary treats such as hard or sticky candy and opt for nutritious choices such as raw vegetables, fruits, plain yogurt and popcorn. Remember to brush after snacking to keep cavities at bay. If you can't brush, rinse your mouth with water to get rid of food particles.
In addition to healthful eating, oral health problems can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene, such as brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeking regular oral health care by keeping those regular six month visit to your dentist.