March is National Nutrition Month! Getting your five daily servings of fruits and veggies is good for more than just your body, it's also good for your teeth!
When you think of cavity-causing foods, the first thing that comes to mind is CANDY! But the decay process can start when naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth comes into contact with any form of sugar, including the natural sugars in milk and breastmilk, fruit juice, and processed carbohydrates like chips and crackers.
Tips for healthy eating and healthy teeth:
- Stay hydrated with plain water to promote saliva flow. Water is essential to overall body functioning and saliva naturally protects teeth.
- Choose to eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice. Juice is more calorie-dense and has more concentrated sugars that whole fruits. Even natural juices! For example, there are about 12g of sugar and 65 calories in a medium size orange, but an 8oz glass of pure orange juice has 21g of sugar and 112 calories! Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to tooth decay and childhood obesity.
- Limit snacking in between meals.
- Cleanse the mouth after eating. Brushing is ideal, but when that's not possible, drink plenty of water!
- Always brush and floss before going to bed for the night and do not allow a bottle or sippy cup of any beverage other than water at bedtime. Don't allow food and drink to eat away at your child's teeth while they sleep!
Looking for more tips on healthy eating? Check out the ADA's Bad Foods Slideshow!
Forget the Juice and Eat the Whole Fruit Instead
Reducing Childhood Obesity by Eliminating 100% Fruit Juice
Diet and Dental Health
Bad Foods Slideshow