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  • Writer's pictureSheen Dental

Advice from a hygienist in Richmond: a healthy diet contributes to a healthy mouth

We all know the importance of cleaning our teeth, but how does the food we eat impact our oral health? The food you put into your mouth directly contributes to tooth decay, especially if you are addicted to sugar and carbohydrates.

Which foods should you consume more of and what should you try to avoid? In this article, our hygienist in Richmond at Sheen Dental Care looks at the do’s and don’ts of eating.

What happens to the food you eat?

After eating, food particles mix with spit to form ‘plaque’ which bonds to the surface of your tooth. Harmful bacteria found in plaque use the sugars found in food to form an acid that starts attacking the enamel of your tooth. Once the enamel is weakened, the acid begins to destroy your tooth from the inside-out, resulting in a cavity.

Why does my diet matter in fending off tooth decay?

Avoid eating food and treats with no nutritional value because these have a higher sugar content, and more sugar means that harmful germs can generate more acid to attack your teeth and fast-track decay.

The list of food to avoid is not exhaustive but includes any types of sweet, baked goods like cakes, muffins and biscuits, potato chips, and dried fruits like raisins which have a lot of sugar.

Dairy, chicken and moderate amounts of unsalted nuts are good for your teeth because they provide calcium and phosphorous that strengthen your teeth, helping to fight off bacteria. If you have allergies or are vegan, green vegetables like broccoli also do the trick. A helpful tip if you have children is when handing them a treat - also encourage them to eat a piece of cheese at the same time.

Unsurprisingly, crunchy fruit, like apples, and most vegetables are safe to eat. The water contained in these food groups helps to dilute their sugars. At the same time, eating fruit and vegetables helps to produce more saliva, which is responsible for washing away food particles.

Which beverages are good for me and my teeth?

Water and fluoridated water at that, milk and unsweetened tea are the safest to drink. If you do drink the occasional soft drink or fruit juice, it is better to drink it in one sitting. Sipping a sweet beverage over a couple of hours prolongs your teeth’s exposure to sugar, which in turn, results in acid attacks and frequent visits to our hygienist in Richmond.

Finding sugarless alternatives

If you have a sweet tooth, but want to give up sugar for good, you might want to consider sugar substitutes like sweeteners to get your fix.

Sweeteners might look and taste similar to real sugar, but contain different ingredients and are therefore ingested differently - the bacteria found in plaque do not ‘feed off’ the particles found in sweeteners. Be sure to read the labels on sweeteners because not all brands are good for you.

Chewing sugarless gum is also allowed and is actually an asset to the health of your mouth. It helps with saliva production.

Look again at the food you eat and start making dietary changes for your oral health. If you are stuck and do not know where to start - our hygienist in Richmond will assist you in making lifestyle changes.


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