Australian Dental Association and the Dietitians Association of Australia have joined forces to help promote National Nutrition Week (October 11 – 17) by reminding Australians that not only are vegetables a crucial part of a healthy diet, they’re good for teeth as well.
National Nutrition Week, run by Nutrition Australia and the Produce Marketing Association, is this year calling on Australians to Pick Right. Feel Bright! by choosing to eat more fruit and vegetables.
“To start to address the dismal fact that almost 95% of Australians do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables and instead only eat half the amount they need each day, we urge all Australians to take the Try For 5 challenge,” says Lisa Renn, spokesperson for the DAA and accredited practising dietitian.
“This challenge involves eating five serves of vegetables every day during National Nutrition Week.”
To support this challenge, Nutrition Australia is running a competition that will give prizes to Australians who take the challenge and display their commitment in social media through the hashtag #TryFor5.
“National Nutrition Week is a prompt to kick-start healthier eating habits by making small, positive changes you can keep up over time,” says Renn.
“Boosting your vegetable intake, such as by adding an extra serve of vegetables to your main meal, taking a salad or home-made vegetable soup to work for lunch, or snacking on raw vegetables between meals or while making dinner, are some easy ways to boost your intake.”
She says the health benefits of eating vegetables have been known for decades, with studies showing diets that are high in vegetables, as well as legumes/beans and fruit, can help protect against chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, says: “Eating healthy food, particularly vegetables, also helps keep teeth healthy.
“Not only do vegetables provide our bodies with important vitamins and minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants and gut-healthy fibre we all need to function and lead healthy lives, veggies can help prevent cavities and tooth decay, fight plaque and also help your breath stay fresh”.”
He says celery, carrots and other crunchy vegetables are examples of vegetables that stimulate chewing action and do not contribute to tooth decay or acid erosion of teeth.
“Crunchy, firm foods like celery contain lots of water and require lots of chewing, so are good for oral health because they stimulate the flow of saliva and can actually clean tooth surfaces, and provide a natural shine to your teeth,” he says.
“Saliva also helps neutralise the acid present in other foods and loosens food stuck in between your teeth, reducing plaque.
“These are tooth friendly snacks, much better for your dental health than snacking on sweet, sugary or acidic snacks,” he says.