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Consumer News: Spotlight on eating right during National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, a time to think about foods that are tasty and nutritious—and healthy for your mouth, teeth and gums.

This year’s key message from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on combining taste and nutrition to create healthy meals.

According to MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website, the foods we eat and the beverages we drink can have a direct influence on our overall oral health.

Examples of foods that may benefit dental health include cheese, milk, plain yogurt, leafy greens and almonds. These foods have high amounts of calcium and other nutrients. Protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs are great sources of phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus play critical roles in dental health by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel.

Fruits and vegetables are good choices for a healthy smile since they are high in water and fiber, according to MouthHealthy.org. In addition to the vitamins they contain, these foods help stimulate saliva production, which washes food particles away from the teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from decay.

Although tasty, foods such as candy (especially hard or sticky candies like lollipops and caramel), chips and sweets (cookies and cakes) not only have very little nutritional value, but can also cause for dental concern. Bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugars found in these foods, releasing acids that can lead to tooth decay.

Meanwhile, drinking acidic and sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks and juice, can erode tooth enamel.

For more information on nutrition, including food tips on snacking and diets, nutrition concerns and nutrition tips for pregnancy, visit MouthHealthy.org/en/nutrition.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

03/12/2014

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