It is all too easy to forget that we only get one set of adult teeth that have to last us a lifetime, but we can soon get a reminder of how precious they are when we have to get some expensive treatment done.
Cover is available which can help soften the financial blow to your bank balance if you need treatment like this, but it also makes sense to try and keep your teeth healthy by watching what you eat.
Not just about sugar
The modern nutritional approach to oral hygiene and keeping your teeth strong and healthy goes way beyond simply advising people to stay away from sugary snacks and drinks.
Adequate nutrition in your diet is important for a whole host of good reasons and is an important ally in preventing dental disease and issues.
The cliché you are what you eat has some relevance when it comes to your teeth and the quality of the food you consume combined with its nutritional composition can have a direct bearing on your oral health and is an influential factor when it comes to the likelihood of tooth decay occurring.
Nutritional advice and counseling is becoming much more mainstream these days as people understand that a healthy body and teeth will not just be achieved by reducing your sugar intake on its own, although it will definitely help.
Oral health blacklist
There are certain snacks that should be on your oral health blacklist as ones to avoid if you are going to keep your teeth and gums in great shape and prevent issues with cavities and bacteria.
One item on the blacklist might surprise you because it is promoted as an important part of achieving a healthy body, but Vitamin C isn’t always good news for your teeth. The main problem is citrus fruits, which are high in the vitamin but can unfortunately also have a detrimental impact on your teeth.
The high acidic content of citrus fruits can cause erosion of the enamel, so regulate your intake of Vitamin C in this way, and avoid brushing your teeth for about an hour afterwards because the enamel is more vulnerable when exposed to the acids contained in citrus fruits and drinks.
Candy and soda are pretty obvious candidates for the blacklist but you might be surprised to learn that crackers are in the what not to eat category.
The reason for this is the fact that crackers and other types of saltines contain refined carbohydrates and these quickly transform into sugar in your mouth, plus the chewed cracker paste has a tendency to get caught in your molars, so it is a snack that is best avoided.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Foods that you do want to try and include in your diet in order to promote healthy teeth and gums are produce that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D.
Milk and other dairy products are a good source of both of these nutrients and vitamins and if you are someone who can’t tolerate dairy, there are calcium-fortified juices available and you could consider adding some powdered milk to cooking in order to get an intake of calcium that is needed to protect your teeth and jawbones.
If you like the taste of fresh cranberries, the good news is that recent studies have shown that they have been shown to interrupt the bonding of oral bacteria before they get the opportunity to form a damaging layer of plaque.
Staying on the subject of fruits which promote good oral health, firm and crunchy fruits like apples and pears are a good choice for a healthy snack.
These types of fruit have a high water content and this helps to naturally dilute the sugars they contain whilst also promoting salivation, which is also beneficial.
How you eat
Good oral hygiene and health is definitely about watching what you eat and avoiding foods that can be damaging to your teeth and gums, but how you eat your food can also be an influential factor.
Try to avoid certain foods that take a long time to chew, especially if they contain sugars, as the time spent in your mouth is time spent potentially causing some damage to your teeth as you are retaining sugar in your mouth for longer than is advisable, so do and try and avoid chewy sweets altogether.
If you can’t give up on your sugary snacks completely, limit their impact by eating them during your meal times, so that your teeth have less time in the day being exposed to acid.
Having healthy teeth is all about thinking more constructively about your diet and watching what you eats o that you limit the potential damage to your teeth and gums.
Martin Prichard is a dental surgeon and dental health consultant. He likes to share his insights online and has recently started contributing to dental health and wellbeing blogs.