People are sometimes surprised to learn we provide dietary advice, but the type of foods you eat, especially when you consume them, can make a world of difference to your dental health. We might suggest discussing your diet in more detail if we notice you have recently had some problems with tooth decay, yet know you clean your teeth thoroughly. A good diet is also essential for maintaining strong and healthy gums.
When analysing your diet, we are simply looking to see if some straightforward changes could help improve your dental health. We can often identify areas where you can adjust food choices without modifying your dietary habits significantly. One possibility is snacking between meals.
Snacking can be a great way to keep energy levels high between main meals, but if you choose sticky and sweet snacks or starchy foods, these can increase the risk of cavities. Each time you eat these foods, your mouth becomes more acidic for half an hour to an hour afterwards due to mouth bacteria that feed on the leftovers and produce acids. These acids weaken tooth enamel, eventually eroding it and causing holes or cavities in teeth. The more often you snack, the longer your teeth are exposed to these harmful acids. Changing the type of snack to something friendlier for teeth can help to prevent this problem. For example, hard cheese, plain yoghurt or crunchy vegetables and fruits are good for dental health.
Another potential problem is if your diet isn’t nutritious enough for good gum health. You need strong and healthy gums to support your teeth, and gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss. Healthy gums need a diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin B12 and calcium, as these help fight the inflammation caused by gum disease. Fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and leafy greens, are a good source of vitamin C. Eggs, milk, and meat are good sources of vitamin B12. Some pasta, cereal, and bread are also fortified with this vitamin. Calcium is found in dairy products like milk and cheese. These calcium-rich foods can help to reharden tooth enamel.