By Diane Dew, RD, LC, CSC, FAND
TriHealth Corporate Health
Nutrition information – it’s all around us. From how many fruits and vegetables we should eat, to salt we should avoid to the sugar intake we should decrease. We know these are all healthy steps we should take to improve our overall health and wellness.
What we might not hear as much about is the link between the foods and beverages we consume and our dental health.
Did you know:
Why are these items impactful?
The top four dental protective factors are:
Given all of this here is a list of what to do more of and what to have less of:
|Do more of...||Have less of...|
|Increase water intake – a moist mouth harbors less bacteria than a dry mouth||Sticky candy, gummies, taffy, mints, caramels…|
|Use and drink tap water – the fluoride and other minerals help strengthen teeth||Figs, dates and raisins by themselves|
|Choose cheese, vegetables, fruits and nuts as between meal snacks||Decrease sports drinks with full sugar|
|Have three dairy items daily (cheese, milk, yogurt etc.)||Decrease regular soda and sugary drinks – they bathe the teeth in sugar and are often consumed at a time that does not coincide with brushing|
|Have coffee or unsweetened tea instead of sugary drinks||Avoid citrus foods (high in acid) – oranges, lemons, limes unless as part of a meal|
|Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at minimum, each time. Your teeth need to be exposed to fluoride to increase effectiveness.||Don't chew ice|
|Increase your fruit and vegetable intake – these can help clean your teeth naturally||Have less sauces, creams, cakes, pies, candy, custards, honey, molasses, jams/jellies, beer|
|If eating sticky foods have them with a meal||Decrease between meal snacks - food/beverage snack choices are typically high in sugar or acid and remain on the teeth after the snack is consumed|
|Use a straw to drink beverages. This can help minimize the tooth’s exposure to sugar||Avoid bad breath – this is often a sign of a very dry mouth|
|Chew gum made with Zylitrol (Trident, Zyla, BioGenesis, Zellie, Zapp and Spry brans have zylitrol). This helps decrease acid on the teeth.||Avoid specialty coffee drinks high in sugar|
Additionally, there is increasing evidence that poor oral care can be a contributor to diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease.
Help your teeth maintain optimal health by paying attention to oral hygiene and your diet!
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Teeth”, 7/11/18
Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Oral Health and Nutrition
Connection Between Food, Oral Health “Strong” – Colgate.com