In America today we teach kids to brush their teeth from a young age. We even care for babies’ gums before their teeth develop. When a child is old enough, parents and dentists can introduce flossing. This type of oral care is essential for fighting gum disease and tooth decay. However, other factors have to be considered when caring for your teeth! For instance, nutrition plays a large part in dental health.
Cows and Their Milk
The average American consumes 44.7 gallons of milk annually. By choosing dairy for your family, you are choosing a food low in sugars, but high in proteins and calcium. Dairy also provides Vitamin D which helps the human body absorb calcium, thereby strengthening bones and teeth. Other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt contain casein, which strengthens tooth enamel. Enamel is essential to the health of your teeth and the protection of the dentin beneath the enamel.
Other Sources for Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium is essential for bone strength and health, and is a super food for the teeth! Dairy is not the only way to add calcium to your diet, and milk is not the only way to get vitamin D. The best and most natural way to get the vital daily vitamin D your body needs is to spend 15 minutes in the sun each day. Your body makes vitamin D by using the sun! There are also non-dairy sources to find daily values of calcium.
Fourteen non-dairy foods that are high in calcium include:
1. collard greens
3. broccoli rabe
6. bok choy
10. canned salmon
11. white beans
To avoid getting too much sugar from milk, or indigestion from lactose, add some alternative to your diet today. The most healthy diets consist of a variety of sources.
Protecting Your Teeth
A well-balanced diet is essential for oral health, but there are also daily habits you can begin today that will help protect your smile for tomorrow.
1. Regular Check-ups and Cleaning
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends regular visits to the dentist at intervals to be determined by the dentist. These visits are essential in preventing future problems, gum disease, and tooth decay.
2. Brush Twice Daily
Brushing cleans the teeth of plaque, acid, and germs that can cause damage to your enamel and gums.
3. Floss Once Per Day
Floss reaches parts of the mouth that a brush doesn’t and cleans out plaque that would otherwise turn to calculus or tartar, and also prevents gum disease.
While a balanced and healthy diet is essential, it is also important to note which types of foods benefit your teeth. You should also brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly.
Choose the right diet, and choose the right dentist, and keep your smile bright.