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One element of keeping up good health often that is overlooked is the role diet plays in maintaining a healthy smile. It’s natural to wonder how the food you eat has anything to do with promoting healthy teeth and gums, so we outline the relationship between the two below.

The body requires essential elements (vitamins and minerals) in order to grow, and also to combat potentially harmful external components, such as bacteria and germs. Teeth and gums also need specific vitamins and minerals to thrive, protect tooth structure, encourage tissue development, and strengthen immunity to bacteria. They include:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Antioxidants
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Vitamins A, B, C and D
  • Omega-3 Fats

These essential vitamins and minerals can be found in the food you buy from the supermarket. Lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and foods low in fat and sugar make for the best and healthiest options. Avoid processed foods, packet foods, and foods with high sugar content.

It’s especially important for children to eat a balanced diet, and go easy on the sugar, as their baby teeth are more porous and therefore more susceptible to decay. Continuous snacking, sweet treats and constant exposure to sugary drinks all leave a child’s smile prone to tooth decay. Parents can always offer sugar-free, healthy alternatives to children, such as carrots, low-fat yogurt, and water instead of juice. Naturally, teaching the child how to brush and floss properly, along with regular visits to the dentist, will also help them avoid gum disease, and tooth decay.

For more information about how diet is affecting your child’s teeth or your own teeth, make an appointment with our family dental office. Dr. Vu, a family dentist of more than 20 years, sees patients as young as three years old, because she knows it is important for children to develop healthy teeth-cleaning habits from a young age. Call any one of her three locations and discover how Dr. Vu can help you and your family achieve and maintain healthy smiles for life.

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