March is Nutrition Month in Canada and a perfect opportunity to rethink our daily food and beverage choices for improved oral and overall health. Dental hygienists have been telling us for years that the more sugar we eat, the worse off our teeth and body will be. Their efforts are now strongly supported by Canada’s revised Food Guide, which confirms the importance of reducing sugar consumption for better health.
“Dental hygienists see first-hand how poor diet and nutrition can affect a person’s health,” explains Tracy Bowser, president of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). Foods high in sugar, such as candy, sweet baked goods, and carbonated drinks, increase the risks of tooth decay and periodontal disease, which in turn is a risk factor for more serious illnesses, such as diabetes, lung and heart diseases, and stroke. “Our teeth and gums require essential nutrients to resist oral diseases,” adds Bowser. “Eating well-balanced meals, low in sugar, is an important part of maintaining both oral and overall health.”
Dental hygienists can help to identify healthy food and beverage choices during regular appointments. As our partners in prevention, they also offer the following tips to keep our mouth and body healthy:
- Make water your beverage of choice
- Eat a variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein daily
- Avoid sugary snacks, soft drinks, fruit juices, and chewy, sticky foods
- Brush twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth and use an antibacterial mouthwash daily
By making a commitment to healthy eating and good oral hygiene today, we can keep our smiles bright for a lifetime!
Serving the profession since 1963, CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 29,549 registered dental hygienists working in Canada, directly representing 19,000 individual members including dental hygienists and students. Dental hygiene is the sixth largest registered health profession in Canada with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit: www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.