Most people are aware that eating a healthy, balanced diet can make a significant difference to their general health and wellbeing, but have you ever thought how the foods you eat impact your oral health? Paying attention to your diet can really help to keep dental disease at bay and ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy.
Foods to include in your diet
Many people focus on the foods that are bad for your teeth, but there are lots of foods you can add to your diet to boost your oral health. Good examples include dairy products, leafy calcium rich vegetables, and fruits and vegetables that contain important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, D and E, potassium and iron. Calcium is really important, especially for children, because it helps to strengthen the tooth tissue, as well as the bones and nails.
Foods to try and avoid
The bad news is that there are lots of foods, usually ones we love, that are not so good for the teeth. Anything that has high sugar content, such as cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolate, is not good news for the teeth and acidic foods and drinks are also harmful. Acids erode the protective enamel layer of the tooth and sugars cause bacteria in the mouth to feed and produce plaque acids, which attack the enamel surface. Examples of acidic foods and drinks include vinegar and vinegar-based salad dressing, wine, fruit juice, citrus fruits and fizzy pop.
Your eating habits are often as important as the types of food you eat when it comes to oral health. The frequency of eating has a major impact on oral health, as the enamel becomes temporarily weak after eating. It takes time for it recover and if you’re grazing throughout the day, this recovery period cannot take place. For this reason, we recommend trying to stick to three meals a day and ensuring that any sugary or acidic foods or drinks are consumed with a main meal. It’s also advisable to brush the teeth at least 45 minutes after eating, rather than straight afterwards; this helps to prevent damage to the enamel.
If you have any questions about healthy eating or which foods to include and avoid in your diet, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice.