Keep that smile healthy and shining

Oral health is important to total body health. Learn how your diet can affect your dental health.

Nutrition plays an important role in keeping our teeth healthy. Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are essential to keeping our teeth strong and healthy. From the very first teeth, nutrition plays an important role in our oral health. So let’s examine some nutrients to keep that smile shining.

Particularly important is calcium, which helps to form strong teeth, bones and vitamin D, which the body needs to absorb calcium. Foods that can help are low-fat dairy products, fortified soy and rice beverages, canned salmon or sardines (with bones), almonds and dark green leafy vegetables are all excellent sources of calcium. Vitamin D is important to absorb the calcium. Vitamin D is obtained from fluid milk, fortified soy and rice beverages, margarine, fatty fish such as salmon and moderate exposure to the sun.

Another key mineral to healthy teeth is fluoride. In communities where the drinking water does not contain fluoride, check with your dentist for the best preventative measures to add this essential mineral. Phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A and beta carotene are needed for growth of enamel. Foods that can best supply these nutrients are meat, fish and eggs, whole grains, spinach and bananas and orange colored fruits and vegetables, as well as dark green leafy vegetables.

It is best to follow the MyPlate recommendations to keep that shining smile and to prevent cavities. Healthy choices can supply nutrients that support your teeth and your overall general health. Fiber - rich fruits and vegetables have a detergent effect in your mouth, says the American Dental Association (ADA). They also stimulate saliva flow, which next to good home dental care, is your best natural defense against cavities and gum disease. Michigan State University Extension advises to follow the recommended dental plan of having regular checkups with your dentist every six months.

Sugary foods: Remember if consuming sugary foods to do so in moderation. This includes cookies, cakes candies and sugary drinks, as well. Just as sugar adds calories and no nutrients to our bodies, it can promote unwanted tooth decay. As we age it is particularly important to guard against dental disease.

So keep that shining smile by choosing a diet that will keep your teeth and whole body healthy.

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