Making Healthy Choices

Making Healthy Choices

In the interest of maintaining general good health, it is recommended that Americans follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, developed by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. However, in addition to following these basic nutritional guidelines, there are also other steps you can take to promote good oral health.

Sugar-Free Foods

For example, choosing sugar-freeÂ snacks and sweets is a great way to reduce your sugar and caloric intake, and decrease your risk of tooth decay and dental caries, while also doing a good thing for your general health and body. Simply look for food products that are labeled sugar-free it is that easy! By consuming these sugar-freeÂ foods, you can make a significant difference in your overall health and your oral health.

While shopping for sugar-free foods, sweets, and snacks, you may notice that many of these products use ingredients called sugar alcohols, more commonly known as polyols. In reality, polyols contain no alcohol and are not the same as sugars.

What are polyols? Polyols are a distinct combination of ingredients that act as a substitute for sugar but with unique qualities and advantages. First, polyols taste very similar to sugar, but do not promote tooth decay. Likewise, polyols have fewer calories than sugar, making foods sweetened with polyols a healthy-alternative to sugar rich foods and snacks

Smart Snacking

To minimize the amount of time your teeth are exposed to damaging acids, limit snacking between meals and avoid fermentable carbohydrates. Here is a list of smart snack choices that promote good oral health:

Meats, nuts, and milk are good snack choices as they are not fermentable carbohydrates. Moreover, some foods in this category may even benefit your teeth by neutralizing the acid produced by the bacteria in plaque, and/or giving teeth the calcium and phosphorus required to remineralize the enamel.

Firm fruits like pears are good snack choices. Even though they contact natural sugars, firm fruits also contain a substantial amount of water, which acts to minimize the effects of sugars inside your mouth and increase the production of saliva.

Vegetables are generally good snack choices as they are not composed of a high amount of carbohydrates.

The food items listed above are all great choices for snacking between meals. Whenever possible, these foods should be used as sub for sugary snacks high in fermentable carbohydrates like candies, chips, bananas, and soft drinks.

If you are planning to consume snacks high in sugars and fermentable carbohydrates, try to consume them with meals, or decrease the amount of time you take to consume them, thereby minimizing the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acids.

Finally, do your best to brush your teeth after eating or snacking whenever possible to remove plaque-causing bacteria, and if you cannot brush after eating, always brush a minimum of two times per day.

Categories: Oral Nutrition

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