Eating right doesn’t have to mean bowls of raw spinach and mysteriously green, lumpy smoothies. With a little research and planning, your daily diet can be healthy and satisfying. And we can help. The right choices are not only beneficial to your overall health, but also good for your teeth. Here’s how much (or how little) sugar you should be getting, how to find tasty substitutes for your favorite snacks, and which options are best for both body and teeth.
Eating Patterns in the United States
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion just released their healthy eating guidelines for 2015-2020. Data within shows exactly how the American population has been eating, and where there’s room for improvement. As you might expect, standard eating patterns don’t align with their recommendations. Some of our biggest problems include:
3/4 of Americans’ diets are low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and healthy oils
More than 1/2 of Americans’ diets meet or exceed grain and protein recommendations, but aren’t getting the nuanced grains and proteins they need.
Most Americans consume excessive added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
So How Do I Eat Better?
Identifying areas where your diet might be lacking is the first step. If, like most Americans, you’re consuming too much added sugar, that will have a negative impact on your body and on your smile. Sugars feed bad bacteria in the mouth, which then give rise to acids that erode enamel and stimulate tooth decay. By cutting down, you’ll not only help your waistline and energy level, but also protect your grin.
Try picking up the following foods during your next grocery trip to get started –
Plain yogurt (sweeten with fresh fruit for a delicious breakfast)
Nuts and seeds
Fresh fruits and vegetables (try to limit your citrus intake, as the high acidity can be bad for teeth)
Cheese and milk (they contain enamel-boosting nutrients and can help neutralize the mouth’s pH)
Whole grain bread
Lean protein like chicken and fish
Looking for more ideas? View the ODPHP’s illustrations of recommended eating shifts to see specific swaps for popular problem foods. If you ever have questions about a tooth-healthy diet, we’re here to help – just get in touch.
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