Daily Food Habits and Routines That Affect Your Dental Health – Part 1

Something to Smile About

Eat the rainbow… or so the saying goes! Good advice, yet some not so colorful foods can be especially good for your white teeth and general oral health.

Milk and other dairy products (including milk alternatives) are high in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, the trifecta of nutrients that work together to build strong teeth. If you’re drinking 2 cups of milk a day plus another source of dairy, perhaps a cup of yogurt or a slice of cheese, you’re well on your way to the recommended 1,000 mg of calcium.

It is smart to spread out your dairy servings throughout the day. The body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time. Also, promising research shows that the probiotics (good bacteria) found in yogurt or kefir may fight off inflammation and bad breath caused by harmful bacteria.

If dairy isn’t your thing: snack on phosphorus-rich almonds and peanuts, add white beans such as navy beans to your diet (one cup provides 13% of your recommended daily calcium) or stir mushrooms into pasta, salads or soups. Tip: Buy mushrooms treated with UV light (check the package label). UV rays provide vitamin D. Just one cup contains almost 100% of the recommended daily dose. Serve the mushrooms with a dose of olive oil or another fat to help your body better absorb the vitamin D.

To protect gums, reach for foods rich in vitamin C. A cup of cauliflower florets contain 45% of the daily dose and a cup of chopped turnips has 30%. Note: high heat cooking can diminish vitamin C, so consider steaming these vegetables rather than roasting them.

Not all white foods are good for your teeth of course. Foods and beverages sweetened with sugar may cause cavities and gum disease. Poor gum health affects more than your mouth – it’s linked to heart disease. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and men, respectively (4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 tsp sugar). So trade the sugar in your coffee for a splash of milk and you’ll give your mouth double the reason to smile.


Adapted from All Recipes.com, Kim Rose, RDN, LD, CDE


Next Part 2: Daily Food Habits and Routines That Affect Your Dental Health (Especially Children) 

Author: Michelle Hanson

Michelle Hanson, MA, RD, LD is Fresh & Natural Food’s Registered Dietitian. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics with a minor in Community Health from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is a registered dietitian and current member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Michelle has been a nutrition consultant for numerous years as well as a nutrition research director at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Michelle is passionate about food and nutrition and believes in helping people find simple, realistic ways to make healthy eating a part of their everyday lifestyle.
If you are interested in meeting Michelle or have questions for her, you can email her at: michelle@fnfoods.com. She will look forward to meeting you!