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How Much Do You Know About Nutrition and Oral Health?

What we eat and drink plays a significant role in our oral health.

What we eat and drink plays a significant role in our oral health. How much do you know about different foods, drinks, and the vitamins and minerals they contain? Take this quiz!

1. Vitamin D is important for:

  • a. Helping children’s oral bones and tooth enamel to develop correctly;
  • b. Helping children to decrease their risk of tooth decay (caries);
  • c. Both a and b;
  • d. None of the above.

Both a and b are correct! Vitamin D is important for developing healthy, strong teeth and bones. Enamel is the outer layer of the teeth, and if it doesn’t develop properly, the teeth become more vulnerable to decay.

Read more about vitamin D and your child’s teeth.

2. Chewing sugar-free gum is: 

  • a. A good way for children to help their jaws develop to their full potential;
  • b. Not helpful for children at all;
  • c. Only recommended for children occasionally;
  • d. None of the above.

The correct answer is a. Modern dietary habits—including many soft foods that don’t require vigorous chewing—are slowly but surely contributing to smaller human jaws. When children are old enough to chew gum, chewing sugar-free gum safely can serve as an exercise to help strengthen their developing jaws. Similarly, chewing on crunchy natural foods like raw celery, carrots, and apples can also help build strong jaws.

Read more about shrinking human jaws and your children’s oral health.

3. Unsweetened carbonated drinks are:

  • a. Recommended as an alternative to sweetened sodas;
  • b. Just as healthy for teeth as water;
  • c. Both a and b;
  • d. Acidic and can wear down your tooth enamel.

The correct answer is d. Despite being unsweetened, carbonated drinks contain acid, which can wear down and weaken tooth enamel. Plain water is the best choice! This article has more details.

4. The traditional oral health practice of oil pulling: 

  • a. May be helpful to removing harmful gut bacteria from your mouth;
  • b. Is recommended, along with following specific dietary recommendations for maintaining good gut bacteria;
  • c. Is recommended in addition to regular flossing and brushing;
  • d. All of the above.

The correct answer is d. Oil pulling is a popular oral health practice in India, though less well-known in the United States. It involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth and spitting it out to remove harmful oral bacteria. It doesn’t replace flossing and brushing, but evidence suggests that it is beneficial for reducing bacteria. 

Are you curious? Read what Dr. Gio says about oil pulling.

5. Following a vegan diet is acceptable for your teeth as long as you: 

What we eat and drink plays a significant role in our oral health.
  • a. Get enough vitamin B12, which isn’t found in fruits and vegetables.
  • b. Eat enough sources of foods to remineralize your teeth.
  • c. Eat foods to help control dental plaque.
  • d. All of the above.

All of these statements are correct; the answer is d. A vegan diet is environmentally friendly, good for your overall health, and great for your teeth as long as you get enough nutrients. While vitamin B12 isn’t found in fruits and vegetables, some cereals, plant milks, soy products, and yeasts do contain it, and it’s also available in supplements. There are also many fruits, vegetables, and other vegan foods for remineralizing teeth. 

Want to know more? Here are details on how you can protect your oral health if you’re vegan.

6. Vitamin C is important for oral health because: 

  • a. It fights bad breath;
  • b. It helps you maintain strong gums and oral tissue;
  • c. It helps keep teeth from loosening;
  • d. All of the above.

The answer is d. Vitamin C, found in many colorful fruits and vegetables, provides a world of benefits for oral health! 

7. Calcium is: 

  • a. Essential for building and maintaining strong tooth enamel;
  • b. Found in dairy, non-dairy, and vegan sources;
  • c. Both of the above;
  • d. Only found in dairy products.

The answer is c. Though we often think of dairy products first when we think of calcium, it’s also found in almonds, some vegetables, and legumes—good news for vegans! Additionally, you’ll find it in canned salmon and sardines, as well as in calcium-added orange juice.

This blog post has more details on foods containing essential vitamins and minerals for your teeth.

8. True or false: Artificially sweetened diet sodas won’t hurt your teeth because they’re not made with real sugar.

This statement is false. Though diet sodas don’t contain sugar, they’re still high in acid that can lead to dental erosion. 

Want to know more about the effects different drinks have on your teeth? Click here.

9. Raw apples and pears are:

What we eat and drink plays a significant role in our oral health.
  • a. Not suitable for teeth due to their high sugar content;
  • b. High in water, which helps stimulate saliva flow and protect against acid;
  • c. Recommended snacks for children to help their developing jaws;
  • d. Both b and c.

The correct answer is d. Though apples contain natural sugar, their high water content makes up for this by stimulating saliva flow to protect against eroding acid. Their crunchiness makes them an excellent snack for children, benefiting overall health and developing teeth and jaws!

10. True or false: Some nuts aren’t recommended as snack foods because they can cause your mouth to produce acid.

This is true! Some nuts—such as cashews, chestnuts, and pistachios—are high in carbohydrates, which can boost acid-producing bacteria that can contribute to the development of cavities. But other nuts that are low in carbs—including almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamias, and pecans—are better, mouth-healthy snack choices. 

Read about more foods that will benefit your child’s dental health in this blog post.

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