Good Nutrition and Healthy Smiles
Good nutrition is not only necessary for general health, it also plays a key role in the development and protection of good oral health.
Being healthy means good oral health
Oral health is essential to general health and means more than healthy teeth and the absence of disease—it means that the teeth, gums and mouth are healthy, comfortable and functional. Oral health facilitates good nutrition as well. We need healthy teeth and gums to effectively chew and swallow our food and absorb nutrients essential for the body’s general health. In turn, good nutrition and healthy eating promote good oral health.
The importance of healthy eating
Development of primary teeth starts during the second month of embryonic life, and these teeth begin to calcify before birth. Permanent teeth start to calcify just before birth and by age 8 years the crowns of all permanent teeth, except the third molar, are formed. What we eat and drink not only plays an important role in the development and protection of these teeth and gums—in fact, two of the most common diseases (tooth decay or cavities and gum disease) can be prevented by simply improving the diet. Gum disease affects the soft tissues that help support the teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
The following nutrients are important for good oral health:
- Protein is important for the formation of teeth. Malnutrition causes signifi cant delay in eruption of primary teeth and studies suggest a relationship between early malnutrition and dental caries (under- developed teeth and under-calcifi ed teeth are vulnerable to cavities).
- Calcium, vitamin D, and fluoride are needed to build strong teeth through the process called tooth calcifi cation. Vitamin D defi ciency during childhood causes delay in appearance of the baby and permanent teeth, and creates problems in the order in which the teeth come in. Fluoride reduces dental decay by making it harder for the tooth enamel to break down, reducing the ability of bacteria to produce acid, and promoting mineral replacement.
- Vitamins C and K play an important role in keeping gums healthy. Vitamin C helps keep gum tissue strong and vitamin K helps control bleeding. Vitamin C defi ciency affects gums and soft tissues that help support the teeth.
- Vitamin A deficiency during tooth formation is reported to interfere with tooth calcifi cation and result in the incomplete development or underdevelopment of the enamel.
- Riboflavin deficiency results in infl ammation of the tongue, and infl ammation and cracking of the lips.
Reprinted with the permission of the California Childcare Health Program.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
WORKBOOKSMay Workbooks are Here!
WE'VE GOT A GREAT ROUND-UP OF ACTIVITIES PERFECT FOR LONG WEEKENDS, STAYCATIONS, VACATIONS ... OR JUST SOME GOOD OLD-FASHIONED FUN!Get Outside! 10 Playful Activities
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Bullying in Schools
- A Teacher's Guide to Differentiating Instruction
- Steps in the IEP Process