Food for thought: nutrients for oral and mental health

By Sharon Smith
Tuesday, 13 October, 2015

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) and the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) have joined forces to help promote National Nutrition Week (October 11 – 17) by saying that not only are vegetables a crucial part of a healthy diet, but they’re good for your teeth as well.
Lisa Renn, Spokesperson for the DAA and Accredited Practising Dietitian, said: “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. This challenge involves eating five serves of vegetables every day during National Nutrition Week”.
Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, said: “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.”
And in supporting last week’s Mental Health Week, Jerome Sarris from the University of Melbourne yesterday outlined the seven essential nutrients required for mental health in an article on The Conversation.
Key nutrients that may positively influence brain health

  1. Omega-3

  2. B vitamins and folate

  3. Amino acids

  4. Minerals - zinc, magnesium and iron

  5. Vitamin D

  6. Plant-based antioxidants

  7. Microbiotics

The article discusses the key nutrients and the best places to find them, and the pros and cons of using supplements to replace the real thing through our daily diet. It’s an interesting read and one certainly worth passing onto your patients.
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