March is Good Nutrition Month and it’s a great reminder to start eating healthily by trying out new nutritious recipes or imparting knowledge to your kids about healthier food choices.
Did you know that there are diet-related dental problems such as dental caries, developmental defects of enamel, and periodontal disease? Hence, your mouth is a window to overall health and nutrition.
The food we eat affects our teeth. Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining our oral health. The dentist is able to identify certain medical conditions by looking into the mouth and examining the condition of your gums and teeth:
- Heart disease (due to obesity or high cholesterol)
- Diabetes (due to high sugar intake)
- The possibility of premature or low birth weight baby (due to low intake of Vitamin C, folic acid or zinc)
Malnutrition among the elderly is also common when they have missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures as this causes them to compromise on food selections, e.g. opting for softer food that may contain higher fat content with low nutritional value such as porridge.
Tooth decay is also prevalent among the young as the food they eat, such as candy bars or caramel corn, tends to be high in simple sugars. Snacking on these between meals also increases the chance of tooth decay.
Solutions for the elderly with missing teeth include dental implants, bridges or dentures. Children are advised to eat healthier snacks that do not harm the teeth and to reduce consumption of sugary drinks. Examples of nutritious snacks include cheese, yogurt, fresh fruits or unsweetened breads or cereals.
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