Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? The annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes healthy eating and lifestyle choices. In observance of Nutrition Month, the American Dental Association (ADA) shares these four tips for a healthier smile.
1. Watch that sugar. Common sense, right? But many people don’t know that the plaque on your teeth contain bacteria that can cause cavities. The bacteria feed on sugar, releasing acid that attacks the teeth. Sugary foods and beverages provide an all-day buffet for these cavity creators. Train your taste buds to enjoy healthy fare such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Your teeth and your waistline will thank you.
2. Skip the sips. Sipping sugary beverages—even seemingly innocent fruit juice—over extended periods creates an environment where the teeth are constantly attacked by acid. Drinking fluoridated water is best for your teeth. If you choose soda, have it with a meal.
3. Get your saliva flowing. Chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, so if you chew sugarless gum after a meal, the increased salivary flow can help prevent cavities by neutralizing and washing away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth.
4. Eat your vitamins: Eating calcium-rich foods such as cheese, leafy greens and almonds are good for the teeth. Protein-rich foods such as meat, eggs and fish are good sources of phosphorus. Both of these minerals can help rebuild tooth enamel and bone.
In addition to eating a balanced diet, the ADA suggests limiting snacks between meals, brushing twice a day, flossing daily and regular dentist visits for a healthy smile.
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