Nutrition for Healthy Bones and Teeth
Childhood and adolescent years are the most important stages of life for bone development. By building on bone density during these years, it helps reduce the risk of skeletal problems in later life. Interestingly, the nutrition needed to build healthy bones also help builds a strong foundation for dental health.
Calcium is an essential nutrient that keeps bones and teeth dense and strong. They are also needed for normal heart, muscle and nerve function. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are rich sources of calcium.
The body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium efficiently. Exercising outdoors during the day is a great way to keep your child active as well as allow them to get their daily dose of Vitamin D from sunlight. Consuming Vitamin D-rich foods such as eggs, fish and milk can also help.
85% of the Phosphorus in our body is stored in our bones and teeth and help keep them strong and healthy. Nuts, seeds, beans, milk, and dairy products are good sources of Phosphorus.
Magnesium helps regulate Calcium and Vitamin D levels in the body. Foods such as okra, legumes, wholegrain cereals and seeds are rich in Magnesium.
Vitamin C not only supports the immune system, it also promotes healthy gums, which supports teeth development. Vitamin C also helps give structure to bones. Ensure your child’s diet is rich in fruits & vegetables, especially citrus fruits and vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes, to get their dose of Vitamin C!
Aside from consuming sufficient bone and teeth healthy foods, physical activity is also important for the development of bones, joints and muscles. Parents can also promote smart snacking to further improve dental health by avoiding giving children sugary and sticky treats such as caramel candies. Instead, opt for nutritious snack choices such as fruits, yogurt and milk.
Reference: Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Malaysia. A report of the technical working group on nutritional guidelines. National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition. Ministry of Health Malaysia. 2017