Your nutrition intake, or lack of, can either support or sabotage your health. This includes the health of your mouth. Bacteria clings to our teeth, feeding on available sugars, resulting in acids that can decay teeth. However, there are many healthy snack alternatives to junk food that support the health of your teeth and tissues. The amazing part is a diet that is healthy for your teeth, is also healthy for your body.
Healthy Snack Choices For Your Family
“Your mouth is your foundation for health, and the way you treat it is the exact way your body will treat you back.” – Dr. Steven Lin, The Dental Diet
When our kids go off to school each day, our lives as parents are busy and we are often in a time crunch. This results in us sending them to school with an inferior snack as opposed to sending them without one at all. Often, without even knowing, we may be doing their teeth, and bodies, a great disservice.
In conjunction with the recommended daily home care routine and regular dental care, smart nutrition gives us an ideal plan to support a healthy oral cavity.
Snacks That Promote Oral Health
Food can provide many nutrients that support both our teeth and overall body health. We can further support the oral cavity with food choices that not only provide valuable nutrients but also provide immediate protective impact.
Cheese has some amazing qualities such as it creates saliva, which contains minerals that strengthen the enamel of your teeth. Cheese is low in sugar and high in calcium, which helps to keep bacteria off teeth and can strengthen your teeth and bones. Cheese also contains casein and is high in phosphate, both of which contribute to strengthening the enamel. It balances the pH in the oral cavity, reducing acidic buildup that can be harmful to our teeth. Cheese is extraordinary; it can continue to keep pH levels in the mouth neutral or basic for some time after eating it, even if you follow it up with a sugary snack.
Yogurt has plenty of probiotics and calcium that can protect against cavities, periodontal (gum) disease, and halitosis (bad breath). Yogurt is a very beneficial snack but look for a yogurt that is low in sugar for extra protection.
Nut allergies can make it a challenge for kids to bring this snack to school, so please check with your child’s school regarding any rules they may have about nuts. Otherwise, go nuts with this superfood!
Nuts are rich in calcium and phosphate, which strengthens the enamel of the teeth that work to protect the inside. Nuts are also rich in magnesium, which aids in the absorption of calcium, in turn making your teeth stronger.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrition and hold some teeth cleaning powers, making them an ideal snack to promote oral health. According to the ADA, foods high in fiber help keep teeth and gums clean, acting like nature’s toothbrush. The different textures can help in different ways, such as celery being stringy. Celery is often referred to as nature’s dental floss. While many fruits and veggies contain natural sugars, the high water content dilutes the sugars while also stimulating saliva flow. This keeps the mouth healthy and neutral/basic (opposite of acidic, which is necessary for teeth to decay). Apples are very high on the list of beneficial snacks and they’re also very convenient to eat, even on the go.
Green and Black Tea
Green and black teas contain polyphenols, which are natural antibacterial and anti-oxidative agents. They fight inflammation, DNA damage, and LDL oxidation. The preventive nature against dental caries and periodontal disease makes unsweetened tea an excellent beverage to support oral health, as it is without sugar. It can be homemade and placed in reusable bottles to benefit the environment, as well.
Simple carbs are often sticky and contribute to tooth decay, but not whole grains. Complex grains give bacteria less digestible food while offering other nutrients that also benefit our oral health.
Everyone knows water is good for you. Water has a naturally neutral pH, so it does not contribute any acid into your mouth. Water containing fluoride plays an important role in developing and maintaining enamel health.
You can read more about what Web Md. has to say here.
A simple snack of nuts and cheese, yogurt, or fruits and veggies with water or unsweetened tea are all incredibly healthy options for your teeth and your body. They all supply minimal sugars and contain nutrients that contribute positively to your oral health, or at the very least, do not impact it negatively.
Natural eating is a great place to start to keep your mouth and body healthy.