Start your day with a smile: Breakfasts that boost oral health
If you’re thinking of skipping breakfast, think again. A healthy breakfast featuring protein and fiber goes a long way toward bridging the gap between the (seemingly endless) hours between breakfast and lunch.
Studies show that people who eat breakfast each morning enjoy several benefits, such as:
- More likely to have lower body fat (body mass index, or BMI)
- More likely to meet daily fiber, calcium, and fruit and vegetable recommendations, and less likely to consume fat throughout the day
- Better focus at work and school
Not all breakfast foods are created equal when it comes to supporting your oral and overall health. Processed or sugary breakfast foods can stay on your teeth long after you’ve swallowed your food, which attracts the bacteria that lead to cavities. Choosing meals that include protein, produce and whole grains are much better choices. Below we highlight some great options to put on the morning menu.
Protein and fiber: Breakfast’s nutrient powerhouses
When considering your breakfast choices, focus on protein and fiber. Protein and fiber will tide you over between breakfast and lunch, keeping you mentally sharp and full. The four ingredients below contain protein and/or fiber and are all excellent options for your meal – either alone or in combination.
- Eggs: Eggs include two oral health superstar nutrients: protein and phosphorus. These two nutrients support the health of your teeth’s enamel, which is the outer coating of your teeth. Omelets are a great choice because you can customize them by adding your favorite veggies and cheese – the combination of protein-rich eggs, calcium-rich cheese and nutrient-rich veggies is one that supports several areas of your oral health.
- Oatmeal: Oats are an excellent breakfast because they are full of fiber and contain oral health-friendly nutrients that help prevent gum disease and cavities. But be careful when buying flavored, pre-packaged oatmeals because they often contain added sugar. Fortunately, homemade oatmeal is easy to throw together, as you can combine quick oats with water or milk to make a simple yet filling and nutritious breakfast. If you want to add more flavor and nutrients, add your favorite fresh or frozen fruit, nuts or seeds – all of which support your teeth and mouth.
- Greek yogurt: If you have a grab-and-go breakfast style, keep your fridge stocked with cups of Greek yogurt. Most grocery stores contain several types of Greek yogurt, so seek out a lower-sugar variety and add in your own favorite mix-ins (like cinnamon, chia seeds, fruit or nuts). Greek yogurt boasts extra protein compared to most other types of yogurt and contains teeth-strengthening calcium and phosphorus.
- Low-sugar smoothies: When it comes to packing as much nutrition as possible into a single meal, it’s hard to beat a smoothie. The key to keeping a smoothie healthy is limiting the added sugar – and the best way to do this is by making your smoothies at home. Blend your favorite frozen fruit and veggies (pro tip: kiwis, apricots, avocados and blackberries are higher-protein produce picks), milk of your choice and healthful inclusions like chia seeds and peanut butter to create a refreshing and nutrient-packed breakfast.
One last tip: Brush after breakfast
Making your morning meal delicious, nutritious and light on sugar is a small decision that can make a huge impact on not only your day but also your total health. When you’re finished with breakfast, don’t forget to brush your teeth. It’s a 2-minute investment in your oral and overall health.
Rush University System for Health