Food Choices Affect More Than Our Waistlines

young girl brushing teeth

There is more than one reason to pay attention to what foods you’re preparing for yourself and your family. The foods we eat and how often we eat them affect not only our weight, but also our oral and overall health. That’s why it’s so important to make healthy choices; especially for children, whose bodies are growing and changing every day!

Foods that are high in added sugars, such as candy, cookies, and sodas, not only provide extra calories with little to no nutritional value- they also contribute to tooth decay. Over time, this decay can lead to cavities.

And it doesn’t stop there! The health of our teeth and gums can also affect the health of our hearts. The same sticky material that forms on our teeth has been found in the arteries that help circulate blood to our heart and limbs. Did you know that a person who has gum disease (such as gingivitis) is actually twice as likely to have heart disease?

Follow these tips to protect your family’s whole health:

  • Read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars
  • Avoid soft drinks, candy, cookies and other sweets
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit snacks in between meals
  • Brush thoroughly at least two times daily with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your dentist every six months

Even foods that naturally contain sugar can contribute to tooth decay, including dairy products and fruit. These foods have important nutrients for children, so keep them in your children’s diet. Instead, focus on avoiding foods that have high sugar content and little nutritional value. And think of a toothbrush as just one more tool to help you protect your family’s health!

For more information about diet and oral health, visit the American Dental Association’ s website.

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