Over my life I have often received positive comments about my teeth- how straight and white they are and the big smile! As a dietitian I know the importance of good teeth for good health particularly in later life. I intend to still be able to chomp into an apple and chew my steak into my later years. This relies on good teeth.
Food can be both friend and a foe to your teeth. Food provides nutrients we need such as:
Food however can contain sugars that feed the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria in plaque use sugars in food and drinks to produce acid. This acid dissolves the tooth’s strengthening minerals (calcium and phosphate) from the tooth surface. This can then result in decay.
Keeping your mouth moist and well hydrated helps keep sufficient saliva in your mouth. Saliva is the body’s natural defence against dental decay. It helps wash sugars from the mouth and reduces the effect of the acid produced by the plaque bacteria.
If ‘acid attacks’ too often, your saliva won’t have enough time to repair the damage done, and a hole will eventually develop in the tooth. The occasional sugars are ok but continual sipping on sweet drinks, nibbling or sucking on lollies, particularly that are sticky and hang around for a long time, are not tooth friendly.
Eating carbohydrate containing foods like rice, potatoes, bread, pasta and fruit are important and unlikely to cause decay.
Apples are good for our teeth even though they contain sugar as the high water and fibre content stimulates saliva production to wash away food particles. Carrots and celery do the same, not as good as brushing but handy if you can’t.
Tips for healthy teeth:
Your teeth can tell a lot about your overall health. It is thought certain bacteria in your mouth may also be related to bacteria involved in certain medical conditions.
Without good teeth you can’t chew hard foods like apples, carrots, raw vegetables, nuts or meat. So for the best health for your body your teeth are essential. Without them it is hard to have a good high fibre diet rich with fruit and vegetables.
Look after those chompers!
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Simone likes to share her expert nutrition advice. Read more