Your diet has a huge influence on your oral health, probably more than you think. An unhealthy and a low nutritional diet can cause tooth decay. This happens when sugar comes in contact with plaque and causes the acid to attack the teeth. Tooth decay may lead to pain and discomfort, as well as leading to a lower quality of life and low self-esteem. Tooth decay is also a frequent cause of absences at school and work and is linked to obesity.
Too much sugar in diet
Common sources of sugar in the diet include soft drinks, candy, cookies, and pastries. If you eat too many of these common sources of sugar you could be at risk of tooth decay, therefore, the reduction of these sugars is imperative to maintain good dental health. Additionally, drinking plenty of water, instead of other drinks, especially fizzy drinks and fruit juices, helps to maintain good dental health.
Consuming too much sugar-rich foods will cause tooth decay over time. The type of sugars that most adults and children eat too much of are “free sugars” which are sugars in biscuits, chocolate, flavoured yoghurt, and fizzy drinks. Naturally found sugars in milk, fruit and vegetables do not count as free sugars. Therefore, it is important to try to eat food with high nutritional value, especially as children and teenagers.
Choosing the right food for your oral health
To help you pick foods better for your oral health, try to look for foods without added sugars and foods low in sugar. Maybe even make these foods a treat so you don’t eat foods high in sugar consistently. To monitor these, read each label before you buy the foods and read the nutritional facts. Eating foods with low nutritional value can cause gum disease as over time the lack of nutrients makes it more difficult for the tissues to fight infection.
Most foods contain different types of sugar, however, these foods, such as milk and vegetables have other nutrients in, which means the tissues in your mouth can help to resist infection. It is important to eat foods as part of a balanced diet, which means having limited snacks and having three meals a day involving foods from each of the five major food groups to be able to eat a balanced meal. Eating meals rather than snacks means that the saliva produced from the meal helps to wash away the food from the mouth, meaning the acids from the foods affect the teeth less than just eating snacks as less saliva is produced.
The five major food groups to eat from are:
- Lean sources of protein such as lean beef, or skinless poultry
- Whole grains
Healthy snacks include fruit, vegetables or a piece of cheese. If you need help on what to eat ask your physician or dentist. It is also advised that you drink only one small 150ml glass of fruit juice or smoothie per day. Especially as when smoothies are blended it releases the sugars in the structure of the fruit.
Staining foods and drinks
Additionally, smoking cigarettes, drinking wine, tea and coffee are also culprits of staining teeth. If you want to look after your smile, try to avoid these in large quantities to be able to maintain white teeth. Coastal Dental Care offers in-chair teeth whitening services which can help to reduce the staining on your teeth.
Remember that even if you follow a nutritionally balanced diet, you still have to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Fluoride is a key way of reducing tooth decay. Using fluoride toothpaste is the best way to limit the effect of tooth decay. In addition, regular dentist visits are important to stay on top of your oral health.
Book an appointment today
If you have questions about how the diet influence on oral health, ask your dentist at your next visit. You can conveniently book an appointment online 24/7.