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Hopewell Nutrition Blog

How Does Nutrition Impact Dental Health?

Tooth decay or “caries” is the most common chronic childhood disease.  Tooth decay is also preventable.  Foods that contain sugar (refined and natural) of any kind can contribute to tooth decay.

Generally speaking, people with poor nutritional status will tend to have dental disease.  This statement applies to children, adolescents and adults.  Constant poor nutrition will eventually take its toll on general and dental health.  What you eat impacts your entire physiology.

It is important to read labels and to teach children and young adults about food choices.  Education is the best method for achieving knowledge concerning dental health.  Below is a list of common added sugars that may be found is processed and non processed food.  Please note that honey in its natural form will also promote tooth decay.

  • table sugar
  • brown sugar
  • cane sugar
  • raw sugar
  • confectioners glaze
  • powered sugar
  • corn sweeteners
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • invert sugar
  • honey
  • fruit juice in any container
  • evaporated cane juice
  • evaporated cane sugar
  • glucose
  • fructose
  • dextrin
  • turbinado sugar
  • sucrose
  • maltose
  • corn syrup
  • rock sugar
  • malt syrup
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • fruit extracts and concentrates
  • imitation syrups

Schools and parents need to make nutrition a priority.  Well-nourished students learn and pay attention better than nutritionally compromised students.  We need to remove vending machines that sell junk food to hungry students (soda, candy, chips and pretzels, ice tea, etc.) and offer quality snacks like fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, full fat yogurts, cheese, and  whole grain snacks and quality energy bars.  We need to control blood sugar in children and adults because it is primary to good health.   Excessive dietary sugar is a risk factor for diabetes at all ages!

After school snacks should be of sound quality too.  A handful of commercially baked cookies, pop tarts, fake cheese, juice boxes, soda, etc. will not contribute to quality nutrition.  Most commercial cookies and energy bars are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and high amounts of refined sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and many of the sugar listed above.  Organic natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, maple sugar, molasses, stevia powder, dehydrated can sugar juice and raw honey are the better choices from the above list.  Homemade cookies made with natural sweeteners, butter, coconut oil and other traditional fats are the best choice.  The second best choice is to find commercial cookies and bars made from similar ingredients.  It is best to avoid all snack foods cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, MSG, and nitrates, for example, microwave popcorn, potato and corn chips and pretzels.

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