Hello! This is Michelle, WCL’s registered dietitian, with this month’s Nutrition Minute because we want to MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNT.
Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Teeth
Daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing are essential to a healthy smile, but did you know nutrition has an effect on your dental health, too?
Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups promotes healthy teeth and gums. A balanced eating plan that includes fruits, vegetables, protein foods, grains and dairy 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, and fortified soymilk help promote strong teeth and bones. Other sources of calcium include tofu (made with calcium sulfate), canned salmon, almonds and some dark green leafy vegetables.
- Phosphorus, a mineral found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts and beans is good for strong teeth.
- Vitamin C promotes gum health, so eat plenty of sources, including 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, drinking fluoridated water and seeking regular oral health care.
Adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. www.eatright.org
Michelle Elliott, RD