The foods we eat, and our oral health go hand in hand. We must be aware of the food we’re eating and what kind of effect it is having on our teeth. Two of the main components to look out for are sugar and acid, and if we eat too much of either, we may find that our teeth begin to suffer. But it’s not all bad, there are foods that we can eat that promote good oral health too. If you do find that you’re having issues with your teeth, contact the best dentist in London for expert advice. Below, we’ll look at how our foods can impact our oral health.
Tooth decay & Sugar
Some of the foods we eat can cause tooth decay – and the main ingredient that we need to be aware of is sugar. Most foods have sugar, but you should be avoiding some more than others. A lot of sugar is tough on your teeth and consuming too many sugary snacks can cause tooth decay. If you’re snacking on foods high in sugar, your teeth are exposed to dissolving acids for a long period of time, which results in decay.
It’s not just sugary snacks we need to be aware of, but sugary drinks too! A lot of us will be guilty of slipping a sugar or two into our tea or coffee throughout the day or enjoying a fizzy drink, but this is a habit that we would do well to kick. It all comes down to the length of time our teeth are exposed to sugar. If you’re sipping on sugary drinks constantly, imagine the amount of time our teeth are being exposed to it! This gives bacteria more time to cause harm to your teeth and mouth.
Erosion & Acid
Another problem that can occur with our teeth is erosion. This happens when our diet contains too much acid, it wears away the enamel on our teeth which not only changes the way our teeth look but also allows bacteria to penetrate them more easily. When erosion occurs, our mouths become more susceptible to infection. Unfortunately, erosion is permanent, and the only way to reduce the risk is to be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking.
You will find acid is present in a lot of foods, some nutritious and others, not so much. Tomatoes, for example, are acidic but are also packed full of vitamins and minerals, so you shouldn’t stop eating them – just be sure to have them with a meal rather than on their own to minimise exposing your teeth to acid. Some of the most acidic products are fizzy drinks. Thanks to carbonation, even choosing a diet option doesn’t make much of a difference, so try and keep these to a minimum or as a treat now and again.
Snacks & Drinks
As mentioned previously, there are certain foods and drinks that you should avoid to keep your teeth and mouth healthy – but what changes can we make to our diets to improve our oral health?
- Water – As water contains fluoride, choosing to drink this rather than fizzy drinks can help to protect your teeth from erosion
- Dairy – Milk, yoghurt and cheese are packed with calcium, which means you can help restore minerals to your teeth by adding these products into your diet
- Green vegetables – Good for your body and good for your teeth too! Adding green vegetables to your diet means you chew more which in turn, produces more saliva that ‘washes’ your teeth
What can you do to help?
There are a few things that you can do to minimise the risk of decay and erosion, for example, using a straw if you do choose a fizzy drink to reduce contact with your teeth, rinse your mouth with water after consuming a particularly sugary or acidic product – or you could even eat some cheese afterwards!
You should save your acidic or sugary foods to eat during mealtimes, rather than as a snack, so you can reduce the negative impact they have on your teeth. As tempting as it may seem, try not to brush your teeth straight after a meal – wait at least 30 minutes so that you can reduce the chance of damage. If you need to know more about tooth decay or erosion and how you can prevent it, speaking to a dentist is always the best option.