What is the Best Diet for Maintaining Healthy Teeth?
Taking care of your teeth and gums is very important! Regular check-ups will allow you to see how well your oral hygiene is. One of the most important factors of maintaining healthy teeth and gums is being aware of your diet and what you are ingesting. Cleaning your teeth is still an essential step but what you eat and drink is fundamental.
It may seem obvious by now but the most important thing to be mindful of is your sugar intake. Sugar is one of the biggest factors causing tooth decay in today’s society. Therefore it is important to reduce sugary foods/drinks as much as possible; this includes foods such as sweets, cakes, chocolate and breakfast cereals and more. As well as this, it is important to be aware of the drinks you are consuming, such as some fruit juices (be aware that some juices may contain hidden sugars that you may not be familiar with – usually ending in ‘ose’), some milky drinks and some alcoholic beverages as well. The important thing to be aware of with sugar is that it is okay in gradual amounts but if you intake it every day in high doses, it can be harmful to your health.
Another obvious factor to consider is how much caffeine you consume – tea and coffee (as well as Cola, which is a sugary beverage so this is even more important to avoid) being the main beverages to watch out for as these can cause the teeth to stain.
Something that is also important to be mindful of is having a balanced diet; this is making sure you are eating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day and are eating high fibre and protein-packed meals as well as consuming dairy/non-dairy alternatives of milk/yoghurt (preferably low fat and low sugared versions). Another aspect of a healthy diet is having some form of unsaturated fat, this is usually a form of oil such as olive or vegetable. However, these should be consumed sparingly.
Another thing to bear in mind is some citrus fruits, even though they are a healthy choice, can be harmful to your teeth. You should think twice before consuming too much lemon, orange or grapefruit. Due to their acidic nature, they can cause the enamel to erode (i.e. the hard, protective coating of the tooth). Therefore it is best to eat them in moderation.
Something that may seem less obvious, but is still equally important for maintaining good oral hygiene is drinking water. Not only is it a good substitute for drinking fizzy and sugary foods but also it is completely free from sugar (unless you buy carbonated/sparkling).
It is important to be mindful when ordering or having takeaway foods as these can be high in sugar or salt; a couple of examples being sweet chilli or sweet and sour dishes as well as dressings on some salads.
Overall the key to maintaining healthy teeth is actively thinking about the food and drink you are consuming and making sure that you are reducing your sugar intake (even if this means incorporating this gradually). As well as maintenance of your teeth such as cleaning effectively twice a day and attending regular check-ups.