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Nutrition and Oral Health: Making the Connection

How does the mouth relate to good health?  The mouth is the entry point for food and the beginning of the gastrointestinal tract.  The ability to chew and swallow is a critical function required to obtain essential nutrients for the body, the building blocks of good health.  The links between oral health and nutrition are many.  Thus, oral health plays an integral role in assuring adequate nutritional status.  Interestingly, oral health and nutrition share and interdependent and sometimes antagonistic relationship.  By promoting healthy development and maintenance of the mouth's tissues and natural protective mechanisms, good nutrition promotes oral health.  In contrast, certain foods can cause plaque development increasing the risk for oral disease.  How the foods are eaten can stimulate saliva flow, reducing the risk.  The interactions are complex, with food and nutrition having the potential for both positive and negative effects on oral health.  The mouth serves as a window for the skilled dental practitioner to view overall health status.  The regular dental exam makes it possible for your dentist to check for gum disease as well as precanerous lesions.  Taking care of your mouth is an important step to the road to good health.  Good eating habits, regular brushing, flossing, and flouride are all part of maintaining good health.

By:  www.afic.org/Nutrition