I was raised to be a breakfast eater. Even in those very hectic high school days, my mom made sure that I didn’t leave the house without eating something. Mom was right; breakfast is vital for jump-starting your day and helping you perform better in the morning. Also, women whose breakfast includes ready-to-eat breakfast cereal are less likely to be overweight than women who don’t eat breakfast cereal. And here’s something Mom didn’t know- breakfast is an ideal time to take care of your teeth.

At breakfast, “include tooth-friendly dairy products like yogurt and milk that supply calcium, a mineral that helps build and maintain strong teeth and healthy gums, with your morning breakfast cereal,” says Riva Touger-Decker, R.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Nutrition at the New Jersey Dental School in Newark. Dr. Touger-Decker explains that dairy products are alkaline in nature and important for oral health, particularly since cavity-forming bacteria thrive in an acidic environment.

Dr. Touger-Decker encourages breakfast eaters to add tooth-brushing to their morning routine. “Brushing teeth removes particles of food from the teeth, taking away the food that decay-causing bacteria need. It also helps remove the potentially harmful bacteria that develop on the teeth overnight.” Some studies suggest that periodontal disease is associated with increased risk of osteoporosis in women, another good reason to brush after your daily breakfast.

Breakfast provides the opportunity to eat nutrient-dense foods like Whole Grain Total, that supply calcium and other vitamins and minerals the body needs to be at its best. “Breakfast eating is linked to overall health, and if you choose the right foods, that includes dental health,” notes Touger-Decker.

Ask Mindy

Q: What should I do if I’m not hungry in the morning?

A: You may not feel hungry if you eat a large or late dinner. Try to eat less at night and finish your last bite at least two hours before you go to sleep. It may take a few days for your morning appetite to return. Also, give your body a bit of time to wake up. If you can’t eat before leaving for work, take breakfast with you.

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