Linking Malnutrition and Oral Health

 

Malnutrition is a serious problem that continues to plague our nation. Eighty-five percent of Americans do not consume the USDA’s recommended daily intake of essential vitamins and nutrients. While there are certain economic and geographic reasons for this nutritional deficiency, one of the major contributors to malnutrition may surprise you. Poor oral health is considered one of the main causes of malnutrition in the United States. As a Melbourne, Florida dentist Dr. Brazdo wants to make sure that her patients are healthy. By helping build strong smiles she can help her patients maintain their ability to eat nutrient-dense foods and stay as healthy as possible.

Oral Health and Malnutrition

It may come as a shock to learn that oral health can play such a large role in something as important as your nutrition. But, when you think about it, your teeth dictate exactly what you are and aren’t able to eat. Unfortunately, this is discrepancy is most prevalent in the elderly. A recent study conducted by the UNC School Of Medicine uncovered the reasons behind malnutrition in elderly populations in North Carolina, Michigan, and New Jersey. They found that poor oral health was a major contributor in malnutrition and risk of functional decline. Their research also discovered that food scarcity and isolation contributed to malnutrition but not nearly as strongly as dental problems. They found that the malnutrition caused by poor oral health and the inability to eat nutrient dense foods leads to a higher risk of death, functional decline and a decreased quality of life. They surmise that by improving the oral health of our senior citizens, we can help to improve their overall health. As a Melbourne, Florida dental office, we strongly encourage every demographic – and especially our older patients – to seek help in their oral routine. Dr. Brazdo is always happy to help improve a patient’s quality and keep them smiling all through their Golden Years.

Healthy Teeth Healthy Life

Having an abundance of cracked, broken, or missing teeth can certainly affect the type of foods you are able to eat. Nutrient poor foods are much easier to masticate and digest, so many people with dental issues choose mashed potatoes, breads, and other soft food items to eat without pain. However, this causes a negative feedback loop. Soft, nutrient-poor foods don’t provide your body with the nutrients or vitamins it needs to boost the immune system, fight infection, heal damaged cells, or fortify bones and teeth. It is important to eat nutrient-dense foods on a daily basis to keep your body and your oral tissues thriving, but in order to do so you need a strong and healthy set of teeth. A comprehensive and beneficial daily oral routine can be one of the most important things you do for your health every day. By brushing for two minutes twice each day and flossing once every day, you remove the harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay and lead to gum inflammation and periodontal disease. If you can prevent these two conditions, you are well on your way to having healthy teeth for your entire life. It is also important to tend to dental emergencies as soon as they arise. Cracked or chipped teeth can be easily fixed, but if left untreated can cause pain when eating nutrient-dense foods. Seeing your Melbourne, Florida dentist twice a year can help you prevent detrimental oral conditions and fix minor and major dental trauma that can keep you from enjoying the foods you love.

Foods to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

A common problem with dental health is that people don’t think about it until something bad has happened. Some people can ignore sensitivity and stay away from oranges and coffee for months and only see their dentist when the tooth has decayed so far that a root canal is necessary or it may need to be extracted. Dental health is a slippery slope, and it’s important to take care of your teeth in every way possible. Eating foods that help to keep your teeth healthy can also be a beneficial part of your oral care routine. These items can help your body keep your teeth healthy so that you will able to enjoy them all your life:

  • Dairy Products – Dairy is full of calcium which your body uses to replenish your teeth and bone tissue. Many dairy products also contain Vitamin D which helps this process along.
  • Carrots and Apples – Crunchy fruits and veggies are full of vitamin K, A, and C all of which help to boost your immune system and keep your gums healthy.
  • Spinach and Broccoli – Leafy, green veggies are chock full of vitamins and minerals like magnesium which help to bring chemicals like potassium and calcium to the teeth and other oral tissues. This helps them repair and remain strong.

If you are curious about what you can be doing to keep your teeth healthy all the days of your life, ask your Melbourne, Florida dentist right away. We love to see healthy smiles and will help you achieve a smile you’re proud of.