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Not So Sweet Tooth Campaign
Contact the Public Health Dental Program
Public Health Dental Program
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A14
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1724
A relationship exists between oral health, diet and nutrition. Diet and nutrition affect the health of the teeth, and the health of the teeth affects nutrients consumed. An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of cavities (tooth decay or dental caries), gum disease and obesity. Food and drinks containing sugar and starches cause the harmful bacteria in the mouth to form an acid that weakens the tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of the tooth. Over time and without proctective factors, the enamel can be destroyed and cavity can form.
Some sugary foods and drinks increase the risk for cavities. Other foods prevent the development of cavities and protect the teeth.
- Sticky candies and sweets: syrups, yogurts, ice cream, snack foods, cookies and other sweet baked goods
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, flavored milk, sports and energy drinks, coffee, tea, juice and fruit drinks
- Refined carbohydrates: white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, pasta, potato chips, processed foods
- Alcoholic beverages
- Fruits, especially whole fruits, and vegetables
- Whole grains: whole-wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy: milk, plain yogurt, cheese
- Protein foods: seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts and seeds
- Water, especially fluoridated water
Childhood Obesity and Cavities
Childhood obesity is a major public health problem. Nearly 20% of US youths aged 2 to 19 years are obese. Obesity levels are disproportionately high in ethnic minority, low-income, and other socially marginalized groups. Tooth decay or cavities is another common condition affecting children. In the United States, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among youth aged 6–19 years with higher rates among low-income children. If left untreated, it can cause pain and infection leading to problems with chewing, swallowing, speaking, and learning. Common risk factors for obesity and cavities are the frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and frequent snacking on carbohydrate-rich foods.
Tips for a healthy mouth and healthy weight:
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and sugary, salty foods and snacks
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit calorie-containing beverages with meals, drink water instead
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake
- Engage in 60 minutes of physical activity per day
- Limit screen time (television, computer) to no more than 2 hours per day
- Visit a primary care doctor and dentist regularly
Florida's Campaign to Reduce Childhood Obesity and Tooth Decay
Dental providers have an important role in the diagnosis of oral diseases correlated with diet. Consistent guidelines on nutrition and oral health are essential in improving overall health. Florida's Not So Sweet Tooth Campaign* aims to reduce childhood obesity and tooth decay by providing dental providers and public health professionals with effective resources to address these health issues with their patients. Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Not So Sweet Tooth Campaign toolkit includes webinar presentations, handouts, and other resources for dental providers to use in their clinical practice.
- Webinar Training Series
- Handouts and Other Resources
The Childhood Obesity and Dental Caries Webinar Training Series a webinar series that focuses on oral and general health – especially dental caries and obesity - and provides evidence-based recommendations to reduce the burden of these common childhood diseases in vulnerable populations. The webinar series was conducted targeting dental providers in different counties.
Webinar #1: Dental Caries in Children: Evidence-Based Recommendations in Clinical and Public Health Practices
Webinar #2: Childhood Obesity: Evidence-Based Recommendations on Sugar-Containing Beverages and Nutrition for Dental Providers
Webinar #3: Motivational Interviewing with Families in Dental Practice
Hillsborough County - Webinar #1 - 4.8.2021
Mulitple Counties - Webinar #3 - 5.12.21
Clinical Practice Guideline for Nonrestorative Treatments for Caries
Healthy Beverage Consumption Guidelines in Early Childhood
Shift to Healthier Food and Beverage Choices
Conversations Starters about Healthy Eating Patterns
How to Build a Healthy Eating Pattern
*This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of two financial assistance awards totaling $387,212 with 100 percentage funded by HRSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.