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Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month to raise awareness about how eating a well-balanced diet can lower the risk of developing health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. This year, we celebrate our 50th anniversary. But did you know that eating healthy can do more than protect your overall health? It can help keep your mouth healthy, too. Let’s check in with your dentist in Chapel Hill to find out more about how nutrition relates to oral health.
Nutrition in The United States
We know we should eat fruits and vegetables every day, and we also know that we should limit our intake of high-fat foods and focus more on whole grains and fish. However, many Americans eat too much of what we shouldn’t and not enough of what we should. In fact, according to the CDC, less than 10% of American adults are eating enough vegetables and only 12% are eating the recommended amount of fruits. The Food Pyramid Guide from the United States Department of Agriculture, introduced in 1992, tried to make understanding nutrition easy. But the truth is, it’s not so simple.
Different people have different nutritional needs, and these recommendations don’t fit into a one-size-fits-all guide such as the Food Pyramid Guide. Proper nutrition varies based on things such as gender, age, height, weight, and activity level. Using a resource like MyPlate can help you determine your individual nutritional needs. Eating properly for your body can help keep your body and, as your dentist in Chapel Hill knows, your mouth healthy.
Diet & Oral Health
Plenty of research supports the theory that there is a strong connection between whole-body health and oral health and often finds that the healthier the mouth, the healthier the body, and vice versa. People who eat a well-balanced diet are often healthier overall and, in turn, also typically have better oral health. When choosing foods for you and your family, pick foods that you know are good for your body. Chances are, they’re also good for your teeth. Some good go-to food options include:
Of course, make sure you refer to your MyPlate account and focus on food groups that your body needs.
Everyone knows that your dentist in Chapel Hill will always encourage patients to limit sugar intake because sugar can feed mouth bacteria and increase the risk of decay. However, even foods that aren’t high in sugar and don’t even taste sweet but contain a lot of carbohydrates can also affect your teeth in a very similar way as sugar. Try your best to limit the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in your diet.
This National Nutrition Month, aim to eat better and cater your food groups to what your body needs. After all, eating a well-balanced diet can fuel your body, protect you from disease, and keep your mouth healthy.