“Weight can be a sensitive subject, but if you talk about eating behaviors alongside dental health, you’re looking at the issue from a different angle,” confirms Louise Arvidsson, registered dietitian and PhD student at the Institute of Medicine.
In one of her sub-studies, she reviewed eating behavior, BMI and dental health of 271 pre-school and primary school children in Sweden. The children’s height, weight, and food intake over one day were compared with the prevalence of cariogenic microorganisms in saliva — and the link was clear: The children who had higher amount of caries bacteria also had significantly higher BMI and worse eating habits. They ate more frequently and consumed more foods rich in sugar.
“There is absolutely a possibility to catch these children and talk about food habits, specifically in Sweden where the dentists meets with them at an early age, but this needs a good level of collaboration between the general dentistry, the child health care and schools,” says Louise Arvidsson.
With good food comes increased self-esteem, better relationships with friends and fewer emotional problems, Louise confirms in a different sub-study. Children that to a higher extent followed general dietary recommendations — wholegrain products, 400-500 grams of fruit and vegetables per day, fish two to three times a week and a low intake of sugar and saturated fat — reported better mental well-being.
The effects were achieved regardless of socio-economic background, and regardless of the children’s weight. Her research further shows that good self-esteem could be linked to the healthier eating habits, two years later. A healthy diet and mental well-being might therefore be considered to interact, in a positive spiral.
Pacific dental group “Are you offering carrots as snacks, or both carrots and biscuits? What you eat at home is a very important question, and that you yourself try to make healthy choices. Children do as we do, not as we say.”
Source from sciencedaily.com