Family, Youth and Community Sciences News

Research-based information, resources, and tips for families, consumers, and educators; provided by the faculty of the University of Florida/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

How Nutrition Affects Oral Health

healthy smileGoing to the dentist to get a cavity filled is not a fun experience for adults or children. Dental work can be costly and occasionally painful. The good news is that there are good nutritional habits your family can practice to decrease the risk for cavities, also known as dental caries.

Eating a balanced diet will provide the nutrients necessary to keep teeth strong and healthy. For example, milk is not only a great source of calcium but decreases the risk for dental caries when consumed with foods. Also, limit the frequency of snacks and sweetened beverages between meals to decrease the number of times the bacteria in the oral cavity can produce acids that cause dental caries. If snacks are consumed, brush the teeth, rinse with water or chew sugar-free gum to neutralize the acids formed by the bacteria.

Stay away from slowly dissolving, sugar-containing candies that remain in the mouth for a long period of time. Even healthy foods like dried fruits can promote dental decay because sticky foods remain on the teeth longer, so make sure your children brush after a sticky snack.

Incorporating these simple habits into the diet in addition to keeping good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing and using a fluoridated toothpaste will help decrease the number of cavities and can potentially save your family pain and money. This can bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Listening, learning and living together, it’s the science of life. “Family Album” is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and of WUFT-FM. If you’d like to learn more, please visit our website at

Listen to the Podcast: How Nutrition Affects Oral Health

Written by Karla P. Shelnutt

Reviewed by Linda Bobroff and Donna Davis

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