It’s mostly alarming rates of obesity fueling new dietary guidelines that will be released by the FDA, with the recommendation of lower levels of added sugar, sodium and healthier fats as cornerstone goals for food manufacturers. Let’s not forget that large amounts of added sugars can also fuel cavities in kids. Oral health is directly associated with heart health, and poor oral health, includes cavities and gum disease. Signs of periodontal (gum) disease include:
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Gums that are recessing and pulling away from teeth
- A change in your bite due to loose or shifting teeth
- In older adults, change in how dentures fit
If you want to protect your kids’ oral health, limit processed treats, raisins and fruit juice. A small serving of low fat cheese and limited amounts of sugar free gum can actually prevent dental decay. Also limit in-between meal snacks. Make sure your kids brush their teeth for a minimum of two full minutes twice a day. Have kids brush their teeth after dinner which should signal “no more eating until tomorrow morning.” Teach your child flossing early on. Make sure your child sees a dentist at least once a year for a full dental checkup.
Obviously many of these recommendations are also appropriate for “us grownups” too!!