Healthy food for healthy teeth: Put these items on your shopping list!

Sponsored by Hawaii Dental Service

Today, many seniors in Hawaii aren’t only cooking for themselves — they’re also cooking for their grandchildren and other family members. As Healthy Smiles Week continues, HI Now host Jobeth Devera is at Foodland Farms at Ala Moana with Dr. Jay Kanegawa to take a look at some items that are affordable, easy to prepare, and good for your teeth!

“Oral health is directly related to overall health, so seniors need to eat lots of nutritious and fibrous fruits and vegetables and limit sugary drinks and snacks,” Dr. Kanegawa says. “This will keep their teeth strong and healthy and also help them maintain good overall health.”

First stop on their shopping trip? The vegetable section. Dr. Kanegawa says vegetables are packed with vitamins and promote healthy gums and bones for your teeth.

“Vegetables are just such a great thing for a great smile,” says Dr. Kanegawa. He suggests kupuna buy things like cabbage, zucchini, kale, beets and carrots. He says zucchini is one of the more versatile vegetables in that you can substitute it for a lot of starches. Kale is also versatile, as kupuna can grill it or even put it in salad. As far as fruits, Dr. Kanegawa recommends apples and grapes. He says berries are also a great source of Vitamin C and polyphenols, which fight bacteria.

Proteins are an important part of a meal, and Dr. Kanegawa likes getting rotisserie chicken because you can use it to prepare a number of dishes.

“You can make tacos with it, you can make a wonderful chicken salad with it. It’s a very quick and easy meal to do,” he says.

In addition to buying food that will help keep our kupuna’s teeth healthy, Dr. Kanegawa hopes to remind people that teeth can last a lifetime through brushing twice daily, flossing, and visiting their dentist on a regular basis.

“Many believe that tooth loss and decay are inevitable when it comes to aging, but it’s not true,” he explains. “Prevention is so important at every stage of life and we want seniors to be able to enjoy the foods they eat and enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile.”

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