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Christi Daugherty | The link between good nutrition and oral health

By Jessamine County Health Department Dental Hygienist Christi Daugherty 

There is a major link between your nutrition and oral health that most people do not know about. The sugars and acid in our foods are one of the main factors in the cause of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed off sugars, but they can only do so in an acidic environment. One of the main acidic foods most people consume, is soda.  On the PH scale of 1 to 10, battery acid is measured at 1, stomach acid is measured at 3, and surprisingly, sodas are measured right in the middle at 2. This means that every time you take a drink of a soda, you are creating the perfect situation for active decay, and it takes up to two hours to return to neutral.  

The Jessamine County Health Department’s Preventive Dental Hygiene Program sees the effects of sodas on the teeth of the children in our community. One common factor of children with significant tooth decay is most admitted to mainly drinking sugary and acidic drinks, such as sodas, juices and sweet tea. The combination of sugar and acid can be harmful to teeth. This is why a large part of our program includes oral health education and making good nutritional choices. Not only do we discuss brushing and flossing, but we also educate them on proper nutrition. Going into our third school year we have been able to provide over 2,800 dental cleanings, dental assessments, and fluoride varnish to the students in the Jessamine and Mercer County schools. We’ve also placed over 3,000 sealants to help prevent decay of permanent molars. We are seeing a decay rate of around 60 percent, and we are referring all students to a local dentist who will be able to maintain and monitor their oral health. 

For more information about the Dental Hygiene Program, call Christi Daugherty at 859-885-4149 ext. 1028.