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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

                                                                      1415 SAGE STREET ~ GERING, NEBRASKA 69341 
      Call: 308-436-3491           

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March is National Nutrition Month.  Click on Nutrition Month Link to learn about Food & Fitness.

Not only is your diet important to your general health, it is also important to your dental health. 

If you do not eat a balanced diet, you are more likely to get tooth decay and gum disease. Developing teeth can also be affected. Children who have a poor diet are more likely to have dental problems. Likewise, pregnant women need balanced diets for their babies' teeth to develop normally.

Diet and tooth decay

How does the food you eat cause tooth decay? When you eat, food passes through your mouth. Here it meets the germs, or bacteria, that live in your mouth. You may have heard your dentist talk about plaque. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria.

These bacteria love sugars and starches found in many foods. When you don't clean your teeth after eating, plaque bacteria use the sugar and starch to produce acids that can destroy the hard surface of the tooth, called enamel. After a while, tooth decay occurs. The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs.  

Gum disease and nutrition

 Poor nutrition can cause gum disease to progress faster and become more sever  in individuals whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.  Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system leaving people at a higher risk for gum disease.

Choose foods wisely

Some foods that you would least expect contain sugars or starches. Some examples are fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even vegetables.

The key to choosing foods wisely is not to avoid these foods, but to think before you eat. Not only what you eat but when you eat makes a big difference in your dental health. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. If you are on a special diet, keep your physician's advice in mind when choosing foods. For good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks.  

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Tips for better dental health

  1. breads, cereals and other grain products
  2. fruits
  3. vegetables
  4. meat, poultry and fish
  5. milk, cheese and yogurt
bulletTo get a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods. Choose foods from each of the five major food groups:
bulletLimit the number of snacks that you eat. Each time you eat food that contains sugars or starches, the teeth are attacked by acids for 20 minutes or more.
bulletIf you do snack, choose nutritious foods, such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, sugarless candy and/or gum or a piece of fruit.  
bulletFoods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay, so avoid snacking on soft, sweet, sticky foods like cake, candy and dried fruits.
bulletFoods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm. More saliva is released during a meal, which helps wash foods from the mouth and helps lessen the effects of acids.
bulletAlways keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water.  
bulletIf you have a dry mouth supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.
bulletWhen you eat fermentable carbohydrates like crackers, cookies and chips eat them as part of your meal instead of by themselves. 
bulletEast combination foods like cheese and crackers to help inhibit tooth decay.
bulletAvoid eating too much. It can not only lead to becoming overweight, it can lead to dental disease as well.
bulletBrush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
bulletClean between your teeth daily with floss or use interdental cleaners.  

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Conditions such as tooth loss, pain or joint dysfunction can impair chewing there by restricting your diet which can lead to a poor nutritional intake and put you at risk to other health problems so................

Visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur while they are easy to treat.

(Information from  American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry)

For more on food and nutrition see Nutrition Gov.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Peterson.  We have no outside funding.
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