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Chew on this: 6 dental myths debunked
Date:8/5/2010

BOSTON (August 5, 2010) Brushing, flossing, and twice-yearly dental check-ups are standard for oral health care, but there are more health benefits to taking care of your pearly whites than most of us know. In a review article, a faculty member at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) debunks common dental myths and outlines how diet and nutrition affects oral health in children, teenagers, expectant mothers, adults and elders.

Myth 1: The consequences of poor oral health are restricted to the mouth

Expectant mothers may not know that what they eat affects the tooth development of the fetus. Poor nutrition during pregnancy may make the unborn child more likely to have tooth decay later in life. "Between the ages of 14 weeks to four months, deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, protein and calories could result in oral defects," says Carole Palmer, EdD, RD, professor at TUSDM and head of the division of nutrition and oral health promotion in the department of public health and community service. Some data also suggest that lack of adequate vitamin B6 or B12 could be a risk factor for cleft lip and cleft palate formation.

In children, tooth decay is the most prevalent disease, about five times more common than childhood asthma. "If a child's mouth hurts due to tooth decay, he/she is less likely to be able to concentrate at school and is more likely to be eating foods that are easier to chew but that are less nutritious. Foods such as donuts and pastries are often lower in nutritional quality and higher in sugar content than more nutritious foods that require chewing, like fruits and vegetables," says Palmer. "Oral complications combined with poor diet can also contribute to cognitive and growth problems and can contribute to obesity."

Myth 2: More sugar means more tooth decay

It isn't the amount of sugar you eat; it is the amount of time that the sugar has contact with the teeth.
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Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
617-636-6586
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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