‘You are what you eat’ is especially true when it comes to your teeth and gums.
3 minute read
You don’t have to avoid sugar completely to have healthier teeth and gums, but some foods are worse than others.
If you’re concerned about your oral health or general health and you want to lower your risk for tooth decay, gum disease and other problems, below we share some of the best places to start.
Got questions about your oral health or perhaps you’re due for a check-up and clean? Book an appointment at Kelmscott Dental today.
1. Sticky lollies
It’s no surprise that sweets are bad for teeth, but ones that stick to your teeth can be especially damaging. This allows bacteria in plaque to feed on the sugar for longer, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Sticky sweets may also pull out fillings or other dental restorations.
2. Dried fruit
Whole fruits provide many important vitamins for oral health and overall health, but dried fruits – such as apricots, figs, prunes and sultanas have high concentrations of sugar and can be just as harmful as sweets if they get stuck between teeth or trapped in crevices.
3. Starchy foods
Besides sugar, other refined carbs in foods such as white bread, white rice and potato chips can feed bacteria in plaque and contribute to tooth decay and erosion, especially when they get trapped in teeth or stuck to their surfaces.
4. Hard foods
Some foods can pose more harm to teeth if they cause them to chip or crack. Hard foods such as nuts and candy canes are common causes of dental injuries over the festive season, and may require treatment such as bonding or placing a crown depending on the extent of the damage. Crunching ice and chewing non-food objects can also damage teeth.
5. Sugary drinks
Even if you cut down on sweet treats, you or your kids may still be consuming excess sugar in drinks. From soft drinks and energy drinks to fruit juices and cordials, many beverages that are high in sugar also have a high acid content that weaken and erode tooth enamel.
Many alcoholic drinks are also high in sugar and acids, but alcohol can also dry out the mouth and cause changes in the lining of the mouth. Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for gum disease and oral cancers.
Dark-coloured alcoholic drinks such as red wine also cause staining or discolouration.
While not technically food, certain medications such as antihistamine can cause tooth discolouration. Similarly, antiseptic mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine which is used for treating gum disease can stain teeth if used over an extended period of time.
How to protect your oral health
Limiting unhealthy foods in your diet will help to lower oral health risks, but you might not have to give them up completely. You can reduce the impact of sugary snacks and drinks by having them at the same time as meals and sipping water to rinse and hydrate your mouth.
You can also swap harmful foods with healthier alternatives such as these:
- Potato crisps for nuts
- Ice cream for low-sugar frozen yoghurt
- Soft drinks for water
- Chocolate for hard cheese
- Bakery items for fresh fruit
- Lollies for sugar-free chewing gum
Protect your oral health by following these oral hygiene practices:
- Eating teeth-friendly foods high in calcium, fibre and vitamins (including dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables and protein-rich foods)
- Not smoking
- Drinking plenty of water
- Brushing your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing between teeth daily
- Visiting the dentist twice a year for a check-up and dental clean
Looking for a dentist in Kelmscott?
If you need to see a dentist or you just need some oral health advice, call our friendly team at Kelmscott Dental today on (08) 9495 7999 or book an appointment online. We welcome patients from all nearby areas including Armadale and Gosnells.