Nutrition is a critical part of great dental care, and March is National Nutrition Month! What better time to engage kids in their oral health with some fun facts? Knowing more about nutrition not only builds a strong foundation for kids’ food choices, it empowers them to take responsibility for their own good oral health!
Dr. Bajuscak, your dentist in Portland, has collected the following little-known facts on nutrition for our smaller patients.
Potassium: a vitamin with many vehicles
If your child is in sports, particularly running or other distance sport, you’ve probably heard that after a big race, your kid needs potassium, so eat a banana.
Potassium is important for healthy bones and teeth. Bananas are a good source of potassium, but there are even more, and some may surprise you! Here are some other sources of potassium:
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Kiwi fruit
- White button mushrooms
- Baked potatoes with the skin on
- Acorn squash
Dried fruit: fresh fruit’s less nutritious cousin
Fruit is an amazing source of minerals and vitamins; plus fruit comes whole and unprocessed, two important factors in choosing healthy foods.
But dried fruit is not an equal option when compared with whole fruit. Apparently, up to 80% of the vitamins and minerals can be lost when a fruit is dried! Not only that, but from a dental health perspective, dried fruit can sometimes cause problems: the tacky, sticky fruit gets stuck in teeth and feeds cavities.
For a snack, choose fresh, whole fruit– not dried or juiced.
A 20oz cola has more sugar than you can imagine
Cola and soft drinks contain 65g of sugar in 20oz. This is a phenomenal amount of sugar– for those of us over 21, 65g looks like 2 shot glasses full of sugar!
Not only that, but the carbonation in soft drinks creates an acidic environment. Together with the high sugar content, these drinks start destroying dental enamel almost immediately. The sugar feeds bacteria, who excrete acidic metabolites– this bacterial acidity and the acidity of the drink eats away at dental enamel, and that leads to cavities.
Soda also steals calcium from bones, which can weaken jaws and teeth. When going to sports events, movies, and other places where soda is commonly sold, find a different beverage treat!
Antioxidants are a big name right now and people are seeking vitality and longevity with foods like chia seeds, blueberries, and green tea. But you can also find antioxidants in unexpected places– maybe even in food you’re already eating! Here are some good sources:
- Air-popped popcorn
Please share your food fact tidbits at your next visit with your dentist in Portland. Make an appointment today!