How Your Food Choices Can Affect Your Oral Health
Oral Care Clayton :: The foods you choose to eat and how often you eat them effects the health of your teeth and gums. Too many sugar laden drinks, juices and non-nutritious snacks put you at risk of dental disease.
Both adults and children who snack throughout the day have a higher risk of developing tooth decay (dental caries). Oral bacteria digest the sugary substances, producing acid which then attacks the teeth.
Diets high in non-nutritious foods and hence with low levels of certain vitamins and minerals have been associated with reduced immune function. Poor immune function decreases the ability of the oral tissues to resist infection. Periodontal (gum) disease is more severe and progresses faster in people who eat a poor diet.
Dentists support eating foods from the “Healthy Eating Pyramid” which includes wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, lean protein foods and low fat dairy products. Sugar laden and non-nutritious foods should be treated as sometimes “treat” foods.
The frequency of consumption of these treat foods is more detrimental to the teeth than the quantity. It is less harmful to the oral tissues to eat these foods with a meal, rather than between meals.
The stickiness of foods has an impact on oral clearance. Sticky foods cling to the teeth. The natural sugars in fresh fruit and vegetables are eliminated more quickly than those in retentive lollies and chocolates, biscuits and cakes. The addition the firm texture of fresh fruit and vegetables generally promotes more chewing which results in increased saliva flow to buffer and clear the mouth.
Lollies, soft drinks, juices and alcoholic beverages can be erosive to tooth enamel due to their acidity, as well as decay promoting.
Many of the trendy “Sugar Free” recipes contain corn syrup, maple syrup, dates, honey, glucose and molasses which are still SUGAR, but just in a different form. They have the same effect on the oral cavity as common sugar.
Chewing sugar free gum promotes saliva flow which increases sugar clearance and acid neutralisation.
No added sugar dairy products contain beneficial casein, calcium and phosphates which protect against decay.
Your diet does directly impact on your oral health. Try to avoid sugary, sticky and acidic foods and those of low nutritional value. Instead pick a selection of foods from the healthy eating pyramid and choose cheese, yoghurt, fruit, vegetables and nuts as your snack foods to maintain healthy teeth and gums.