March is National Nutrition Month, which DentalPlans.com calls an excellent time for seniors to evaluate their food choices and dental health. The online marketplace for dental savings plans also advises oral health professionals to speak with their older patients about strategies for preserving their oral and systemic health.
For example, older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help keep their teeth and bones healthy. They should consume three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese each day. Lactose-intolerant patients should try lactose-free or calcium-fortified soy beverages.
Also, many older adults need fewer calories than they did in their younger years. They should prioritize nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins, vegetables, and legumes when making meal choices. To avoid serving oversized portions, try using smaller plates, bowls, and glasses.
Older adults should drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages as well. Staying hydrated is an important way to combat a dry mouth, which can be caused by medications commonly taken by seniors and is associated with dental decay.
Phosphorous, which is found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts, and beans is good for strong teeth and bones.
And, vitamin C promotes gum health, so seniors should eat plenty of citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach. They also should rinse their mouth gently with water after eating citrus and wait an hour before brushing their teeth since acidic foods and beverages temporarily softens dental enamel.
“Eating healthy contributes to great dental health, but it’s still critical to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings,” said Jenn Stoll, chief commercial officer at DentalPlans.com.
“And if you experience any pain or difficulties when eating, speak to your dentist right away so you can get the care you need and deserve in order to eat a well-rounded, nutritious diet,” Stoll said.