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Did you know it’s not just what you eat but how you eat that impacts your oral health?

We all know to avoid sugary and acidic foods and drink if we want to look after our teeth and avoid dental fillings, but the truth is everything except for water and milk is harmful. That doesn’t mean you should just live of water and milk if you want healthy teeth for life! (Especially as adequate nutrition is vital for overall health as well as dental health.) But it is important to know how to minimise the harm food and drink can be doing to your teeth, so that you can still enjoy the foods you love while protecting your teeth.

Frequency of meals

Every time you eat or drink something (other than water and milk) your mouth becomes acidic. Your mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad, and when we eat so too do these tiny organisms. Bacteria eat by excreting their stomach acid onto their food and then reabsorbing the combined acid/food mixture. This acid they produce does not just come into contact with the food, but also with your teeth and other surfaces in your mouth. The good news is that the saliva in your mouth is PH balanced to neutralise the acid, but it does take time to fully take effect. When your mouth is acidic, your teeth are more vulnerable to penetration by the bacteria in your mouth, and this is when you are at greatest risk of developing decay. Because it takes time for your saliva to neutralise the acidity it is important to leave space in between each meal, and to only drink water in between. If you eat frequently throughout the day there is not enough time for the saliva to take effect, and your mouth will be almost constantly acidic, increasing your chances of decay.

Fizzy drinks and juice

We all can fall prey to temptation when it comes to sweet beverages! And just because you are cautious of your oral health doesn’t mean you should miss out on these treats entirely. The important thing is to remember that these drinks are treats and should be treated as such. Don’t drink fizzy or juice when you are just looking to rehydrate – water will do a better job and should be your first choice. If you do choose to have a sweet drink, make sure to save it for when you are having a meal. Your mouth will already be acidic as you are eating, so you won’t be adding harm. Having sweet drinks with meals instead of in between meals decreases the amount of time in a day that your mouth is acidic and vulnerable.

Bacteria’s favourite food

Just like us, bacteria have favourite foods. Their food of choice is complex carbohydrates such as chips, white bread, and cakes. Cutting down on these foods will help cut down on bacterial presence in your mouth, which in turn helps reduce acidity. Fresh fruits and veges, healthy fats, and protein should make up the bulk of your diet if you want healthy strong teeth.


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Real Dentistry

Author Real Dentistry

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