When it comes to following a healthy diet, many of us know that the old saying 'we are what we eat' is very true. But did you know that your diet is also reflected in your smile? A diet filled with frequent sugary snacks and drinks can have a devastating effect on our teeth and gums, whereas a healthy diet can help us keep our teeth for life.
To help keep your teeth healthy, it is advised that you eat only three or four times a day, avoiding the temptation to snack in between – and if you must snack, then choose something that has minimal amounts of sugar in it, such as cheese, raw vegetables or breadsticks.
This is because every time you eat or drink something sugary, your teeth undergo an attack from acids caused by the sugar reacting with the bacteria in your mouth. If these attacks happen too often, your teeth can suffer decay.
In addition, you should avoid acidic or fizzy drinks, as these can cause tooth erosion, Tooth erosion is a common problem. It is the gradual erosion of tooth enamel by the action of acid on the hard outer coating (enamel) of your teeth which is gradually worn away by repeated acid attacks.
Many foods contain acids - fruit juice or tea, fizzy drinks (including fizzy water). After your teeth are exposed to acid, the enamel is a little softened. The action of calcium and other mineral salts in the saliva can help to naturalize and reverse this softening. Therefore try to
- Limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks that you have during the day. In particular, reduce sugary snacks.
- Try to reduce the amount of acid in contact with your teeth. Choose drinks that are much less acidic, such as still water, and milk, tea (excluding fruit tea), or coffee (without sugar).
- Brush your teeth at least an hour after eating or drinking anything - especially acidic foods and drinks.
Some example for beneficial foods for teeth are:
- Green tea which reduce plaque, cavities, and gum disease. Green tea may also reduce bad breath and strengthen the tooth enamel due to high fluoride content.
- Dairy foods are beneficial (low acidity), which reduces wear of teeth also dairy foods are high in calcium.
- Cheese contains calcium and phosphate, which help balance pH in the mouth, preserves (and rebuilds) tooth enamel, produces saliva, reduce bacteria that cause cavities and disease.
- Fruits such as apples, strawberries and kiwis contain Vitamin C. (vitamin C helps holding the cells together. Lack of this vitamin making gums tender and susceptible to disease.
- Vegetables: Vitamin A,( can be found in pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli), is necessary for the formation of tooth enamel. Crunchy vegetables may also help clean gums.
- Onions contain antibacterial sulfur compounds. It is proven that onions kill some types of bacteria, especially when eaten raw.
- Celery protects teeth by producing saliva which neutralizes acid that causes demineralization and cavities.
- Sesame seeds reduce plaque and help build tooth enamel. They are also very high in calcium.
- Animal food: beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs contain phosphorus (Phosphorus and calcium are two most vital minerals of teeth and bone).
- Water cleans the mouth and produces saliva that deposits essential minerals into the teeth. It keeps gums hydrated and washes away particles from the teeth.
- Sugar in form of:
- Sucrose (table sugar)
- Glucose, fructose, and maltose (Sugars from fruit)
- Carbohydrates, especially cooked starches, e.g. crisps/potato chips