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ADA: Complement Nutrition Month with good oral hygiene

Posted On Mon, March 4, 2013

March is Nutrition Month in the U.S. In light of the annual period that focuses on smart eating decisions, the American Dental Association provides tips for families to remember to work into their diets so that they can maintain the health of their teeth.

For example, most health experts encourage people to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, as they're chock full of fiber and loaded with vitamins and minerals. However, fruits are also high in sugar, which can lead to bacteria and cavity development if they're left on teeth for too long.

To increase saliva flow, ADA recommends chewing sugarless gum and drinking plenty of water. Many of today's sugarless gum offerings contain a special sweetener called Xylitol. This has been clinically proven to help reduce the formation of cavities and gingivitis, which can lead to tooth decay.

Something else ADA recommends is eating plenty of foods that are rich in nutrients, specifically whole foods like lean cuts of beef, eggs and fish. All of these energy sources contain high doses of phosphorus, which also helps promote healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus can additionally help rebuild tooth enamel that can erode over time with high acid foods.

Eating several small meals throughout the day can increase one's metabolism. ADA encourages consumers to practice portion control and to limit their between-meal snacks to a minimum, such as a piece of fruit or handful of almonds.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is also recommended, brushing and flossing two times each day.

Scheduling biannual checkups can help consumers keep up with their dental health as well. Survey data has shown that people whose health insurance rates include dental are more likely to make an appointment with their dentist versus those who pay out of pocket.

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