Dental Health & Nutrition Tips
Maintaining your dental health in addition to selecting nutritionally balanced foods will assist in having good oral health.
Both adults and children need protein, vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and phosphorous, to build strong teeth and resist tooth decay and gum disease. Sugars, whether natural or processed, to cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. All types of sugars and the foods that contain them can play a role in tooth decay.
The most important thing in controlling dental decay is that we break the chain of events that causes cavities.
PLAQUE (bacteria) + SUGAR => ACID ( + TOOTH ENAMEL ) => DECAY
Bacteria in the plaque use sugar to produce acids which attack the enamel on your teeth resulting in tooth decay.
From the equation above, you will see there are three ways we can prevent the formation of cavities.
- Reduce the level of plaque
- By reducing the level of plaque (bacteria) in our mouths, less acid will be produced. This is done by brushing and flossing after meals to wash away bacteria and food debris. Many dentists use an antiseptic mouthwash to kill remaining bacteria.
- Diet control (Sugar control)
- Reduce the time harmful sugars are present in your mouth by eliminating sugary snacks and choosing foods that do not adhere to the teeth. The rate that decay attacks a tooth is directly related to the number of times per day that we eat foods which contain sugar. So it is not surprising that many cavities appear within a short time when a child eats lollies all-day-long between meals. Hence, reduce the frequency and amount of sugary and acidic food and drinks and try to limit these foods to mealtimes.
- Making the Enamel more resistant to acid attack
- Fluoride toothpaste contain fluoride ions which bond chemically with the teeth, producing tooth enamel which is then more resistant to the attack of acids. Eating sugar-rich foods between normal meals is one of the worst things you can do to your teeth. Many people think nothing of having sugar in their tea or coffee. This has the same effect as eating sweets. If you avoid the foods which "trigger" the decay-producing acid, you eliminate one cause of tooth decay.
Please note that some information has been adapted from the AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY 2013 ‘Fast Facts’ factsheet