Did you know March is National Nutrition Month®? Each March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month® to encourage everyone to make informed food choices, and develop sound eating and physical activity habits.
The theme for 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” and what better way for an orthodontic practice to celebrate than to share foods that can make you and your smile healthier?
Foods to Choose
- Dairy – Calcium not only helps remineralize teeth, it helps reduce acidity that leads to decay. Get the most of milk’s benefits by sipping it after a sweet dessert. After all, nothing goes together like milk and cookies! Drinking milk also gives you your daily dose of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium.
- Crunchy foods- Friction caused by eating crunchy foods such as celery and apples may help remove plaque. Our orthodontic patients can indulge in these foods as long as they cut them into smaller pieces – especially apples.
- Tea- Black and green teas are chock full of fantastic compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols have been found to actually slow the growth of bacteria that contributes to decay, gum disease and halitosis. Not a tea fan? Cranberries are also rich in polyphenols.
- Phosphorus-rich foods – Foods rich in phosphorus such as meat, eggs and fish help build strong bones and teeth, and balance and increase absorption of other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium and zinc, according to the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Remember, even healthy foods should be consumed in moderation to maintain a balanced diet and healthy weight. At Bronsky Orthodontics, we are big fans of the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate Super Tracker, an app that makes it easy to plan, analyze and track your diet and physical activity. There is also a MyPlate Kid’s Place for children, which allows them to increase their health awareness through educational games, activities, videos and songs.
Foods to Lose
- Acidic beverages- Wines, coffee and citrus beverages may have certain health benefits, but can wreak havoc on teeth by dissolving their protective enamel layer. Rinse your teeth promptly with water when consuming these beverages.
- Sugary sweets- There is a reason sugar falls into the tiny tip of the food pyramid – it has no nutritional value. Sugar causes dangerous spikes in blood sugar, and breaks down into bacteria and acid in the mouth, which contributes to cavities and gum disease.
It isn’t always practical to lose these food items altogether, but we say to just be smart about it: limit your intake.
Let’s Get Physical!
Daily physical activity is a great way to manage your weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall wellbeing. Unfortunately, many athletes suffer from poor oral health because of the damage carbohydrate-rich sports drinks, gels and chews can have on their teeth.
We don’t mention this to deter our patients from physical activity – quite the contrary. Our very own Dr. Mark Bronsky and several members of our staff are avid runners. We just want our patients to understand the importance of minding their teeth just as much as their form when working out or running. You can do this by keeping your mouth rinsed with water during workouts where you are consuming performance-enhancing products, and brushing afterward to rid your teeth of sugars that can erode enamel.
We hope you enjoyed these tips. Eat right, exercise daily, and stay healthy, friends!