Candy, Nutrition, and Teeth.

This time of year, as we start with Halloween and end with Christmas, I get alot of questions about candy, nutrition, and their effects on teeth.  Growing up as a child in Payson Utah, the main concern with eating candy was that it caused cavities in your teeth.  Today, the effects of sugar on the teeth has become a secondary concern.  The main concern now is the problems associated with childhood obesity and it effects on the body, such as Type II diabetes (adult onset) in children.  There are still concerns and questions that people have about eating habits, nutrition, and how certain foods effect out teeth.

Probably the best answer to any dental aspect of this is the rule that you brush your teeth everytime  after you eat or drink something.  As far as what to eat, obviously the best things for meals and snacks are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  As far as what we should drink, the best things are water, milk that is 2% fat or less, and non-sweetened juices.

Soda pop and candy taste good, but are full of empty calories and have little or no nutritional value.   Today is all about convenience.  So fast food and prepackaged meals are the norm.  We should try to get back to the basic rules of nutrition and eat healthier and this will help us to have less problems with obesity, heart disease, dental cavities, and other problems many of us are prone to due to the health issues in our families due to genetic.

In our nutrition class in dental school,  we learned that the most important thing about eating sweets was that it was the number of exposures of the sweets to our teeth rather than the amount of sweets we ate.  So it is better to sit down and eat a plate of brownies in one sitting than to eat one brownie every couple of hours throughout the day.  And always brush as soon as you can after every meal or snack.  We also learned that chips, cookies, and crackers are worse for causing cavities than sugar because they have a tendency to stick to the teeth at the gumline and therefore form a basis for plaque to form more quickly and readily.

Nutrition is an important part of our health maintenance program.  We need to look at the things that we are eating as individual and as families and find ways to improve.

Just a quick note about this blog.  I took a couple of weeks off due to health issues and to answer the many e-mails sent in from readers.   I will be writing a new blog on Mondays and Wednesdays from no on and answering e-mails on Fridays and Saturdays.  Your response to my little dental blog has been overwhelming.  Thank you.  Send any questions you might have to: drmax@drmaxwood.com.


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