Chew on this. Neglecting your teeth leads to tooth decay, periodontal disease, bone loss and even tooth loss. Nutrition plays a big role in all this. We need to eat the right foods to keep our teeth strong. March is National Nutrition Month, a good opportunity to take a bite out of your worst eating habits.
Here are some tips on what nutrients to include for healthy teeth and gums:
Protein– Include eggs, beans, peas and legumes in your diet. Cook up some lean meat poultry and eat approximately eight ounces of seafood a week.
Calcium – About 99 percent of our calcium reserves are stored in our bones and teeth and not getting enough can lead to periodontal disease. The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk and yoghurt. But certain green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium as well as sardines and salmon,which can boost your calcium intake.
Studies have shown that in order for calcium to fully absorb into the body it needs to be paired with phosphorus.
Phosphorus– Most dairy products contain both phosphorus and calcium, but unfortunately many calcium supplements don’t have phosphorus in them. Foods high in phosphorus include milk, cheese, yoghurt, red meat, beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains.
Iron – Our red blood cell count depends on iron to help the body’s immune system to fight against disease and infection. Fighting against gum disease and oral infection becomes difficult when the body is low on iron. Protect your immune system with iron rich foods like eggs, seafood, red meats and green leafy vegetables.
Fluoride – Dentists encourage their patients to use toothpaste with fluoride to fight tooth decay. Boost your fluoride supply naturally by drinking tap water, black tea and eating seafood.
Vitamin A – Essential for keeping your mouth’s saliva supply flowing, it helps maintain mucous membranes that coat your gums and cheeks, making them less vulnerable to disease. This vitamin can be found in Bugs Bunny’s favorite snack, carrots, as well as fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach as well as in proteins like egg yolks and fish.
Vitamin B – The best way to fight off mouth sores and oral inflammation with Vitamin B found in niacin and riboflavin. Foods such as poultry, fish, red meats, dairy products, spinach and legumes are rich with these vitamins.
Vitamin C- Gingivitis can develop without adequate Vitamin C. It also helps the body maintain itself as well as repair bones, teeth and cartilage and helps wounds heal.Put generous portions of oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, kiwi, peppers and broccoli on your plate.
Zinc – A mineral found in saliva, Zinc has been proven to fight against the growth of bacteria and plaque. Help increase the presence of Zinc with foods like cashews, red meat, pumpkins seeds, squash and legumes.
Cook healthy on us! Like or comment on any of our Facebook posts for the month of March and be entered to win a cooking class!