Oral Health and Nutrition

by Brooke on May 8, 2012

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I was getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist yesterday and was thinking about a friend of mine that is proactive with his oral health and flosses all the time.  I asked him about this once and he said that not only was it good for his overall health, but he also did it to prevent himself from having BAD BREATHE!  While in the dentist chair, I kept having an image pop into my head of a floss and tooth brush flower that I wanted to make when I got home (pictured above).

It is important to protect our gums and teeth, since they are the gateway to our blood supply and digestive system.  In the position paper Oral Health and Nutrition by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics it states that, “scientific and epidemiological data show a lifelong synergy between nutrition and the intregrity of the oral cavity in health and disease.”  The position paper also mentions that diet (food choices) and nutrition have a direct effect on tooth decay.

Here are a few factors that can reduce a your risk of tooth decay:

  1. Try drinking water instead of sugary sweetened beverages (ie pop, sports drinks, or energy drinks) and juice.
  2. Avoid foods or snacks with a lot of added sugar.  Check the ingredients for words like but not limited to: agave nectar, raw sugar, corn syrup solids, cane juice, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and inverted sugar.
  3. Chew gum without sugar.
  4. Limit intake of sticky foods (ie toffee), because they are harder to brush off of your teeth.
  5. Brush teeth after meals and snacks.

It is also interesting that a few studies have shown a link between body weight and periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease occurs when the tissue supporting the teeth (gums) are destroyed.  In a study conducted by Reeves et al., it was shown that adolescents between the ages of 17-21 had an increased risk of periodontal disease per every one kg increase in body weight.  Another study conducted by Al-Zahrani et al., showed simlilar findings and demonstrated that there was an association between the measures of body fat and periodontal disease among younger adults aged 18-34 years old.

Keeping good oral health is just one more reason to take a bite out of healthier foods!



Al-Zahrani M, Bissada N, and Borawski A. Obesity and Periodontal Disease in Young, Middle-Aged, and Older Adults.  Journal of Periodontology.  83:3, 257-266

Position of the American Dietetic Assocation:  Oral Health and Nutrition.  J Am Diet Assoc. 2007; 107:1418-1428.

Reeves A, Rees J, Schiff M, and Hujoel P.  Total Body weight and Waist circumference assocaited with chronic peridontitis among adolescents in the United States.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006; 160:894-899.