Just as the eyes are windows to the soul, the mouth can be a glimpse of physical health of the body.
Oral hygiene is vital to good health in the future.
Cavities and tooth loss can influence how and what can be eaten over time and may affect your overall nutrition in the long-term.
The gums can be a gateway to the bloodstream and with the millions of bacteria in the mouth, if proper brushing/flossing is not a priority, plaque may build up, resulting in gingivitis, periodontal disease and tooth decay.
Chronic gum inflammation and periodontal disease is a risk factor for health problems in the long-term, including heart and lung disease, stroke and diabetes.
Dental health professionals, such as hygienists can assist with early detection of any oral health problems and can help with prevention and developing a strategy for improved dental care.
For more information refer to Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/index.asp and the BC Dental Associationhttp://www.bcdental.org/Dental_Health/Default.aspx?id=6195
Certain foods eaten daily, along with timing of meals/snacks can have an impact on the teeth overtime.
Sugar in food can be one of the main causes of tooth decay.
Sweet foods and beverages should be eaten in smaller amounts and at mealtimes, instead of at snack times, unless regular brushing is part of the routine.
The following is list of foods that may promote cavities.
Limit sticky, sweet foods that are more difficult to brush off teeth:
Chocolate, chewy candy, dried fruit, fig cookies, granola bars covered in yogurt/chocolate/icing, bakery goods with syrups.
Here are some ideas for tooth enamel-friendly snacks:
Hard cheese with fruit, trail mix with nuts/seeds, hummus and whole wheat pita, hard boiled egg, salmon sandwich, cut-up vegetables, cottage cheese with fruit.
To look up additional healthy snack ideas, refer to http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/using-utiliser/snacks-collations-eng.php .
With proper prevention and mouth care, oral health can help keep your systems running more smoothly for the long-term.
*Sandra Gentleman is a registered dietitian who is passionate about health and wellness. She is co-owner of Wild West Watersports.