Michelle’s guide to…..How can diet affect your oral health?

Here at Hello Dental we are keen to encourage our patients in maintaining a healthy smile, whilst good oral hygiene is essential in this role there are a few other things we need to consider, like our diets.

Unhealthy diet and poor nutrition may have important determinantal effects on our well-being, the most significant effect is within the mouth, particularly in the development of dental caries and tooth surface loss i.e. enamel erosion, predominantly associated with dietary acids, most commonly fizzy and/or soft drinks.

Poor nutrition combined with a high intake of sugars could result in an increased risk of dental caries and obesity. If left untreated dental caries could result in tooth loss which in turn may cause low self-esteem and impact on our ability to eat. With an increased aging population, it is important to consider the long term affects of diet on our health as extensive tooth loss could limit the intake of healthy foods, impair nutrition and increase the risk of chronic diseases.

The World Health Organisation strongly recommends that “both adults and children reduce the frequency and intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% of total energy intake would protect oral health throughout the life course”.

Common sources of free sugars include:

  • Cakes

  • Biscuits

  • Sweetened cereals

  • Sucrose

  • 100% fruit juices

  • Milk based sweetened drinks

For good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks:

  • whole grains.

  • fruits.

  • vegetables.

  • lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes.

  • low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.