March is National Nutrition Month. Our children’s nutrition and their oral health are both topics of extreme importance in their development and overall health and well-being. This month we are highlighting foods that are appropriate for promoting healthy teeth as well as nutritionally dense for growing bodies.
Apples are high in fiber (bonus!) but also do a great job of scrubbing plaque off your teeth. The action of eating the apple causes your mouth to produce saliva which helps wash food and bacteria off your teeth.
Carrots & Celery
Like apples, both of these colorful veggies stimulate saliva production which helps reduce the risk of cavities. Carrots are also a great source of Vitamin A which is important for vision, immune system health and helping many vital organs properly function.
They are also high in fiber which helps balance the sugars. While celery often gets a bad rap because of their fibrous strands, those strands are like natural teeth flossers!
Almonds, Nuts and Seeds
Almonds in particular are low in sugar, but high in both protein and calcium. When we consume foods that are highly acidic, those acids can damage or even remove tooth enamel. Almonds, cashews and peanuts are high in calcium and phosphorous which can help replenish minerals and protect teeth.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Okay, yes… this category includes broccoli which we know isn’t a favorite for most kids. But … they are big players in oral health benefits. Your teeth and your gums can be healthier boosted by the folic acid contained in leafy greens like spinach, kale and yes … broccoli.
Yogurt and Cheese
Research has found that eating cheese actually raises the pH balance in a person’s mouth that in turn lowered their risk of tooth decay. The thought is that the act of chewing the cheese increases saliva production (just like apples and carrots!).
Of course dairy products are high in protein and calcium, both important elements for healthy teeth and growing bodies.
Eggs are important because they contain high levels of calcium and Vitamin D. Our bodies require Vitamin D to absorb calcium, making eggs a double whammy for building and maintaining strong, healthy teeth.
Many delicious fruits and vegetables are very water dense. These foods not only keep little bodies hydrated, the water in the food helps rinse away food particles and other bacteria from teeth. A few options include:
- Watermelon (92% water content!)
- Lettuce and Cabbage
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