Your mouth, teeth, and gums are more than just tools for eating. They’re essential for chewing and swallowing—the first steps in the digestion process. Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. So what you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your mouth.
National Nutrition Month. Print and color the activity sheets
See below for a few helpful things to know about what you eat can impact your dental health.
In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration recommended people over the age of 3 eat no more than 12.5 teaspoons (50 grams) of added sugar a day (about the same amount that is found in a can of Coke.) Sugar, the FDA says, should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.
The bacteria in your mouth use carbohydrates for food, so when you cut back on sugar, and other sources of simple carbohydrates that are easily fermentable, you reduce your cavity risk. Limit added sugars in your diet by reading food labels to determine the amount of added sugar in a food. Since ingredients are listed on the label in order of weight, from most to least, if one of the following terms is listed as one of the first few ingredients, it’s a good bet that food is high in sugar. Another tip for spotting sources of sugar—terms ending in “-ose” indicate a sugar ingredient.
Top Sources of Added Sugar in the Diet and Percentages