Health

Avoid mouth infections with proper nutrition

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, March 04, 2018

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MARCH is National Nutrition Month, an effort to bring attention to the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

The theme for 2018 is 'Go Further With Food'.

Proper nutrition means eating a well-balanced diet so that your body can get the nutrients needed for good health and wellness. If your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection.

The mouth, teeth and gums are essential for chewing and swallowing — the first steps in the digestion process, which delivers needed nutrients into the body. In addition, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your mouth.

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, here are a few helpful things to know about nutrition and your dental health:

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, a balanced and healthy diet should include fruits and vegetables; grains, especially whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and wholewheat 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-sweetened 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 fibre, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth.

Routine dental visits are an important part of maintaining overall health. A dentist is able to provide a diet analysis, nutritional counselling, and any necessary guidance in seeking a nutrition specialist. Preventive dentistry will promote a healthy smile and mouth, which will allow you to eat food more comfortably.

Make healthy eating a part of your daily lifestyle.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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