It might surprise you, but the parts of vegetables that we usually discard are actually packed with nutrients.
Most of us don’t think twice about throwing away the skins, stalks and leaves of the vegetables we cook, but Australians were recently encouraged to eat these bits and pieces as part of a campaign during National Nutrition Week in mid-October. The Try For 5 campaign, which is run by Nutrition Australia, urges people to increase their consumption of vegetables after data revealed that less than four percent of Australian adults and less than one percent of children and teens are actually eating the recommended five servings of vegetables a day. Read on to find out how a diet that’s rich in vegetables can benefit your oral and overall health.
How do our diets affect our oral health?
Nutrition plays a key role in our oral health. When we consume foods that contain sugar, bacteria in our mouths produce acids that attack and destroy the enamel of the teeth. This can lead to decay and other oral health issues.
While some of the major culprits when it comes to tooth decay include candy and other sweet treats, it is important to note that frequent snacking on other foods that contain sugars can also cause damage to the teeth. Some of these foods include breakfast cereals, dried fruit, savoury crackers, chips and biscuits. Try and avoid frequent snacking and stick instead to three regular meals a day. If you do tend to snack throughout the day, remember to rinse your mouth after you have eaten to get rid of food particles that may have stuck to the surface of your teeth.
How can we increase our intake of veggies?
Eating more vegetables in favour of processed, sugary foods is a great way to prevent tooth decay and improve your overall health. In fact, crunchy vegetables like raw carrots and celery can actually help to clean your teeth because of their fibrous texture, plus they help to promote the production of saliva, which cleans the mouth of acids and leftover food particles.
To increase your consumption of vegetables, you can eat the pieces that you would usually discard — use the skins, stalks and leaves in your cooking as much as possible as they contain valuable nutrients. Throw vegetable cuttings into soups and stews or consider making your own vegetable stock with leftover pieces.
It’s also a good idea to snack on raw vegetables if you feel hungry between mealtimes. Avoid empty calories like chips and candy, which can have a detrimental effect on your oral health.
What else can be done to maintain good oral health?
Besides eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fresh vegetables, it’s very important that you follow good oral hygiene habits. We recommend that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time and that you floss daily. Flossing is an effective way to get rid of plaque and bacteria that may have built up between your teeth and along your gum line.
Coming in for regular dental visits, including thorough oral examinations, scales and cleans is also highly effective in preventing tooth decay and other oral health issues. We recommend that you come in and see us every six months so that we can identify and treat any problems as early as possible. If you notice any uncomfortable symptoms, such as toothache, sensitivity, chronic bad breath, or swollen gums, we urge you to come in and see us as soon as possible. We will identify the problem and recommend a treatment to help prevent any further damage to your teeth and gums.
If you are ready to make an appointment to see us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice. Our team is available to assist you with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your oral health, oral hygiene techniques and lifestyle habits.