CDA Encourages Healthy Diet for Healthy Mouth

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California Dental Association supports National Nutrition Month.

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The choices you make in your diet play a role in the development of tooth decay — so opt for foods low in sugar and limit the number of between-meal snacks.

The California Dental Association is supporting March’s National Nutrition Month with a reminder that proper nutrition directly affects your overall health and your oral health, too. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, but making nutritious diet choices can help keep teeth and gums healthy.

“The choices you make in your diet play a role in the development of tooth decay — so opt for foods low in sugar and limit the number of between-meal snacks,” said CDA President Lindsey Robinson, DDS, a pediatric dentist.

Bacteria stick to plaque on teeth and feed on what you eat — especially sugars (including fruit sugars) and cooked starch (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.). Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities.

“A few minutes after eating or drinking, bacteria begin creating acids that can break down the tooth’s outer surface by attacking enamel,” said Robinson.

To help keep enamel intact, CDA suggests limiting sugar-filled beverages and drinking plenty of water, especially after meals, to rinse away food particles that would otherwise remain in the mouth and promote bacterial growth that causes tooth decay. Also, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as these foods promote saliva flow, helping to neutralize the acids that break down tooth enamel.

Most importantly, protect teeth throughout the year by brushing for two minutes, twice a day, avoiding sugary drinks like soda, flossing daily and visiting a dentist for a complete dental checkup on a regular basis.

About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 25,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association. For more information, visit cda.org.

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Alicia Malaby
California Dental Association
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