Embrace Your Smile
What is the first thing you see when you meet people? I see smiles. I love how a persons smile can make their whole face light up, and that little twinkle in their eyes, oh my! 40% of Americans say the smile is the first thing they noticed and I'm going to give you a few pointers on keeping that smile healthy and strong.
Taking care of our pearly whites.
We are all taught to brush and floss our teeth twice a day and have those twice a year dental check ups. What if I told you that is the least you do for your tooths sake. Our body is dependent on teeth that are strong. On that same note, our teeth can be affected by problems in the body's digestion, hormone and muscloskeletal systems. It's all connected.
Digestion begins with chewing and swallowing.
Teeth are mechanically breaking down food and the act of chewing releases saliva to start the break down of carbohydrates in food before it travels down the esophagus to the stomach. These smaller particles are then broken down further and all the important nutrients absorbed to keep the body functioning. That is the very condensed version. One of the best things we can do for our teeth and bones and the rest of the body functions, is to have a nutrient dense diet. Avoiding, or only having on those special occasions, those sugary sweets and sticky goodies that have very little nutrition in them.
Eat for Health
Our bones and teeth are made strong with the minerals like magnesium and calcium. Diet that is nutrient dense and rich in fiber support the digestive system. Fiber is easily found in raw fruits and vegetables. Vitamins and minerals are also needed for a strong immune system. Good food sources for all dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals are dark leafy greens, broccoli, sesame seeds, taro, oatmeal, lemons, oranges and even raisins and figs. Dairy has been know to help strong bones but not everyone can tolerate it, no worries, soy or almond milk are both good substitutes to put on your oatmeal. Proteins are the building blocks of the body and necessary for all body functions. They produce energy and stamina, produce enzymes, and repair the body. Healthy fats produce energy, make up hormones, lubricate joints, cushion all the organs and protect all our nervous tissues. Last, but not least, drink plenty of water.
Lets talk about some things to avoid.
We can be so tough on our teeth, requiring a lot from our teeth. We only get one set of adult teeth and they have to last for several decades.
Stop chewing on nonfood items like pencils, finger nails and ice cubes. This could possibly change your bite or fracture teeth requiring orthodontics or emergency dental intervention. Quit smoking and other tobacco use.
When playing contact sports protect your teeth. This is not only for those mixed martial arts boxers and football players. Racquetball courts, skate parks, soccer fields have a surprising number of teeth knocked out. No excuses.
Stop drinking Soda
Half of Americans drink soda daily. Drinking a 20 ounce bottle every day equals 45 gallons a year. Soda is the number one source of dietary sugar in the standard American diet. What if told you it's not the sugar content that is bad for your teeth, the real problem is the acidity. Highly acidic beverages dissolve the tooth enamel leading to weaker teeth prone to cavities. The lower the pH the more acidic the beverage. Water has a neutral pH of 7 and enamel begins to dissolve at 5.5. Coffee and tea have a pH about 6, and juices can also be on the acidic side along with high sugar content. BUT, Soda pop has a pH of 2 to 3.5, depending on which kind (For comparison, battery acid is 1). I've already mentioned limiting the sugary stuff and don't want to be a total kill joy. If you must drink a soda pop then drink with a straw, don't swish it around teeth and chase it with a glass of water.
Our teeth and the rest of the body are greatly affected by what we eat and do. Do a little research, read a few labels, move a little more, drink little more water, love a little more, worry little less. Live longer and healthier. Need more information? Check out Blue Zones or Everyday Health for more information on healthier life and teeth.