March – National Nutrition Month

We know that in order to have proper nutrition, we need to eat a well balanced diet.  If you don’t give your body the nutrients it needs, your health as well as your mouth, may suffer. The first step in the digestion process begins with your mouth, teeth and gums.  Properly chewing your food goes a long way in making sure you get what you need.  A poor diet can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.  High carbs and sugary foods contribute to the production of plaque which will cause cavities.

Here are a few useful tips courtesy of MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website:

  • Follow the recommended nutritional guidelines. Your individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced and healthy diet should include fruits and vegetables; grains, especially whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread; low-fat or fat-free dairy foods; and lean protein choices.
  • Stay away from foods that harm your dental health. Empty calorie foods such as candy, sweets and snack foods are a cause for dental concern, not only because they offer no nutritional value, but because the amount and type of sugar that they contain can adhere to teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed off these sugars, releasing acids, which can lead to tooth decay. In addition, sugar-containing drinks — soda, lemonade, juice and sweetened coffee or tea — are particularly harmful because sipping them causes a constant sugar bath over teeth, which promotes tooth decay.
  • Eat foods that benefit dental health. Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds are foods that may benefit tooth health thanks to their high amounts of calcium and other nutrients they provide. Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are good sources of phosphorus, which along with calcium, plays a critical role in dental health by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel. In addition, fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth.

If you have any questions concerning your dental health and the part good nutrition plays, give us a call at Brogdon Dental 423-870-5698. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your dental needs.

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Four Steps to a Healthy Summer Smile for Kids

Summer is here and your kids are home and eating more snacks than usual. Candies, cakes, cookies and other sugary foods that kids love to eat between meals can cause tooth decay. They may even have a lot of fat in them too. So what should you do? According to colgate.com there are some things you can do to help your kids have healthier teeth.

KNOW WHAT FOODS ARE BAD FOR YOUR TEETH AND WHAT FOODS ARE GOOD

Candy bars aren’t the only culprits. Foods such as pizza, breads, and hamburger buns may also contain sugars. Check the label. The new food labels identify sugars and fats on the Nutrition Facts panel on the package. Keep in mind that brown sugar, honey, molasses and syrups also react with bacteria to produce acids, just as refined table sugar does. These foods also are potentially damaging to teeth.

Your child’s meals and snacks should include a variety of foods from the basic food groups, including fruits and vegetables; grains, including breads and cereals; milk and dairy products; and meat, nuts and seeds. Some snack foods have greater nutritional value than others and will better promote your child’s growth and development. However, be aware that even some fresh fruits, if eaten in excess, may promote tooth decay. Children should brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste after snacks and meals. (So should you!)

Four  simple steps you can take include:

  • Cut back on bottled water.  Tap water includes fluoride.
  • Eat more apples and celery.  Highly fibrous foods give your gums a workout.
  • Substitute low fat, no sugar added yogurt for ice cream. It tastes great too!
  • Stock up on straws.  Sipping acidic liquids are less harmful to your teeth.

Summer can be a healthy time for your kids with more outdoor activities.  By watching what they eat, you can help make it healthier for their (and your) teeth too.