- Sugary foods such as sweets, biscuits and sweet drinks should ideally be eaten only at, or straight after mealtimes. Avoid snacking on sugary foods between meals, as this will cause tooth decay.
- In between meals, snacks such as bread, cheese and vegetables are much healthier.
- STICKY CEREALS especially sugar and honey-coated types are VERY harmful to the teeth, especially when taken as a snack late at night. Porridge, Rice Krispies, Ready Brek and Weetabix with no sugar added are better.
- Sweet drinks especially fizzy drinks, fruit juices and diluted drinks are one of the main causes of tooth decay and wearing down (erosion) of tooth enamel. Even "LOW SUGAR", "NO ADDED SUGAR" and "DIET" drinks are very harmful. MILK AND WATER are kinder to teeth.
- Freshly squeezed fruit juices are very acidic and sugary and should be consumed only once per day at most. It is important not to brush within an hour after fruit juices or fizzy drinks, as brushing will wear away enamel that has been softened by acids in the drinks. Rinsing with water or a fluoride mouthwash (Fluorigard) or chewing sugar-free gum is better.
- Chewing gum containing sugar should be avoided – sugar-free "ORBIT" or "EXTRA" chewing gum can help protect teeth.
KEEP THE SUGAR BOWL OFF THE TABLE TO AVOID TEMPTATION
REMEMBER TO BRUSH THE TEETH FOR 2 FULL MINUTES IN THE MORNING AND BEFORE BED
Use a soft/medium brush in gentle circular motions at the base of the tooth on the outside and inside, using back and forth on the biting surfaces only.
Nutrition Advice for Optimum Oral Health
Good general nutrition is essential for growth, optimum energy levels, resistance to infection and disease and the ability to repair and maintain muscle.
For a healthy mouth we need vitamins and minerals which we get from our food.
- VITAMIN A is essential for healthy teeth and bones and preventing infection. Foods rich in vitamin A are whole milk, cheese, butter, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables and orange and yellow fruit and vegetables. Deficiency can cause dry mouth.
- VITAMIN B2-RIBOFLAVIN is required for tissue maintenance, especially the mouth and mucous membranes, which is the inner lining of the mouth. Foods rich in vitamin B2 are milk, dark green leafy vegetables, breads and cereals. Deficiency can cause sores on lips and cracks at corner of the mouth.
- VITAMIN C helps form collagen and is essential for wound healing. Foods rich in vitamin C are citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, kiwis and strawberries. Deficiency can cause bleeding gums, loose teeth and poor wound healing.
- VITAMIN D is required for healthy bones and teeth. Foods rich in vitamin D are salmon, sardines, liver, egg yolks and sunflower seeds. Deficiency can cause gum problems, poor tooth and bone formation.
- CALCIUM, FLUORIDE, PHOSPHORUS AND ZINC are essential for strong teeth and bones. Found in dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
- >SUGAR has limited nutritional value and robs the body of minerals. It is the number one cause of tooth decay. A high intake of sugar is harmful to health. It is linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Soft drinks, cordials and sports drinks are high in sugar and should be avoided. Drinking still water is best. Hidden sugars include ketchup, cereals, sauces, cereal bars, baked beans and fruit flavoured yogurts. Keep sugar to mealtimes and avoid snacking on sugary foods and drinks throughout the day. It is the high frequency of sugar intake that causes tooth decay.
- FRUIT Although fruit is healthy, too much can be harmful on teeth. Citrus fruits in particular contain natural acids, and if you have a lot of them often they can cause dental erosion. Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.
Tips to Help Avoid Dental Erosion
- Keep acidic products and fizzy drinks to mealtimes, to reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth.
- Chew sugar free gum after eating. This will help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
- Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste.