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Bone Apple Teeth: Serving Up Great Nutrition to Support Skeletal Health

By: Aizya Ali, RDN, LD

Bone-jour madame/monsieur, welcome to Good Measure Bistro! The special of the day includes 4 courses of delicious and nutritious tips for maintaining healthy teeth and bones. Take a seat and remember to consume the information mindfully while savoring each nourishing bite.


Let’s first cleanse the palate with the benefits of a healthy skeletal system before we transition into the main meal. Did you know that 44 million Americans have low bone density, which is a risk for osteoporosis, and 75% of adults have some form of periodontal gum disease? In addition to reduced risk for low bone density and gum disease, having an improved skeletal system can yield the following:


  • Optimal chewing ability, which prepares for efficient digestion
  • Clear and audible speech
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease of the heart, respiratory system, and kidney.
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and rheumatoid arthritis


  • Ability to participate in regular physical activity
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Protection of organs from injury
  • Homeostasis of body’s minerals

First Course

Our first entrée is a myriad of bone-afide bone-boosting foods!


Dairy products are naturally rich in calcium. 99% of the body’s calcium is found in our bones and teeth for strength and structure. Dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D are also needed for bones to properly absorb calcium. Increase your dairy intake with a fruit cheese hors d’oeurve before dinner, chilled glass of low-fat chocolate milk post-workout, or creamy smoothie supplemented with small-curd cottage cheese for a snack in between meals.


Not a fan of dairy? There’s plenty of other fish in the sea. Seafood with soft, delicate bones like canned sardines, anchovies, and salmon are a great source of calcium.  Fish that are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, particularly salmon, mackerel, and halibut provide great amounts of vitamin D. Try mashing sardines and cooked salmon together. Spread the mixture on a whole grain bagel with whipped cream cheese to serve as a lox bagel alternative.

Dark, leafy greens:

Oui, Oui! Popeye the Sailor Man was so strong because spinach is a major source of calcium. Leafy vegetables also provide vitamin K which reduces the risk of low bone density, fractures, and osteoporosis. Consider adding arugula, collards, kale or bok choy to soups or pesto sauce.

Fruits and Vegetables:

The backbone of skeletal health is regular intake of fruits and vegetables. Okra, tomatoes, potatoes, and plantains are abundant in magnesium which, similar to vitamin K, increases bone density and decreases osteoporosis risk. Bananas, papaya, and oranges provide potassium. A deficiency in the latter mineral can result in inadequate calcium levels in the bones. Bell peppers, strawberries, and brussels sprouts contain vitamin C, which is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, a structural element of bone.

Second Course

Excusez-moi, hope you enjoyed, but we must move on to the second course. We promise it’ll be something you can really sink your teeth into!


Full-fat dairy promotes oral health because it’s low in sugar and high in protein. Casein, a milk protein, strengthens enamel. During mechanical digestion, cheese stimulates saliva which reduces acidity in the mouth and prohibits cavity formation.

What do they call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear. Healthy gums yield healthy teeth!! Have a cup of Greek yogurt rich in probiotics to balance oral bacteria and prevent gum disease.


Is your mouth watering yet? Adequate water intake keeps the mouth lubricated and rinses away food residue that can cause tooth decay and discomfort. Find it difficult to meet your daily fluid goals? Snack on water-rich fruits and veggies like watermelon, cucumber, peaches, and apples for increased hydration.

Fruits and Veggies

Leafy greens contain folic acid which prevents gum inflammation and cavities. The cruciferous and fibrous texture of apples, pears, carrots, and celery can also remove food debris from the teeth. Hard and crisp produce will also stimulate more saliva while chewing which reduces overall acidity in the mouth. Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, kiwi, and grapefruit have antioxidant properties that are protective for the gums and teeth.


Add a handful of slivered almonds to a Teriyaki chicken stir-fry for additional calcium. Or sprinkle a chopped salad with walnuts that supply fiber, vitamin D, potassium, and folic acid. Fiber is characterized by its ability to manage blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can be a risk factor for oral disease and infection.  Potassium partners with magnesium to maintain the acidity of blood, which prevents calcium loss from the teeth.

Unsweetened Green and Black Tea:

To tea or not to tea? Drinking more of this ancient beverage will help to prevent and kill existing bacterial growth in the mouth. Not a fan of warm beverages? Infuse whipping cream or half-and half with loose leaf tea, let cool, and fold into yogurt. Top the chilled mixture with fresh berries and nuts. Fiber-rich grains like quinoa and rice can also be cooked in tea instead of stock or water.


And…now, the moment you’ve all been waiting on…the pièce de résistance! Our final course, a tantalizing dessert that will support all your skeletal needs. You know what they say…a spine for a spine, a tooth for a tooth! Or something like that…

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Truffles

Yield: 12 truffles


Truffle Dough

  • ¼ cup almond butter, unsalted (rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree (rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium vitamin C, and vitamin K)
  • ¼ cup coconut butter, melted (rich in phosphorus, potassium, magnesium)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Truffle Topping

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin K)
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut oil
  • Sliced almonds, coarse sea salt


  1. Combine all the dough ingredients, excluding the flour, with a food processor or electric beater.
  2. Add the flour to the mixture and combine until a dough forms. If dough appears overly sticky, add 1-2 teaspoons additional flour
  3. Roll small amounts of the dough between your hands into a ball. Repeat until you have 12 small balls. Chill the truffles in the freezer for 30 minutes
  4. Use a double boiler (or glass bowl over pot of simmering water) to melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil until smooth
  5. Dip the truffles into the melted chocolate and place onto parchment paper
  6. Garnish the truffles with almonds and sea salt before placing into the fridge to cool and harden

Recipe courtesy of The Real Food Dietitians

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