Taking care of your mouth and eating a healthy diet have a profound impact on your overall health. Of course, avoiding too much sugar is essential to prevent cavities, but did you know that your diet can impact your oral health in many other ways too? Here are some tips for how to keep your mouth healthy with good nutrition and helpful links and resources to help children learn about making better food and dental health choices:
- Crisp fruits and raw vegetables, like apples, carrots and celery, help clean plaque from your teeth and freshen breath.
- Antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection. For a list of 20 foods that are high in vitamin C, click here.
- Folic acid, found in leafy green vegetables, promotes a healthy mouth and supports cell growth throughout the entire body. Click here for more.
- Phosphorus, found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts and beans is good for strong teeth. Learn more from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics here.
- Cheese has multiple health benefits for your mouth. Not only does it contain calcium, which promotes strong teeth, but also cheese helps balance the pH level in your mouth. It helps protect your teeth from harmful acid and causes more cleansing saliva for fewer cavities.
- Strawberries contain malic acid–which is a good natural whitener for enamel–and can help keep your teeth free of stains. For 10 foods that are surprisingly good for your teeth, click here.
Unfortunately, 60% of children are not eating enough fruit and 90% don’t eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day. Kids need different amounts of fruits and vegetables throughout their lifetime. Click here to learn more. Here are some great ways to help children eat more fruits and vegetables every day:
- Include kids when planning meals, shopping for and preparing fruits and veggies.
- Let children help plant and care for a garden in your yard or in containers and grow your own healthy snacks!
- Make it easier to reach for an apple or carrots than it is to grab some chips or cookies. Cut up and prepare healthy snacks ahead of time, and keep them within plain sight. For more information on how to reduce your child’s sugary snacking, click here.
Now that you know which foods are best for your oral health, do you know which foods to avoid? Some of them may surprise you. Click here to learn more. Or learn the top five worst foods for your teeth here.