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Dental Health Week (August 7th-13th)
Everything you eat and drink affects the health of your teeth and gums. Carbohydrates left in your mouth from eating and drinking, are taken up by bacteria; these in turn produce the acids that can attack the outer layer of tooth enamel, and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. This week is Dental Health Week, and the theme is ‘Oral health for busy Lives’.
Here are some examples of how to fit caring for your teeth and gums, into an already-overcrowded diary.
Drink plenty of water
It’s calorie free and there are no ingredient labels to stress over. Even better, tap water in most areas of Australia contains fluoride, a key element in preventing tooth decay. If you choose water over anything else, and regularly sip it throughout the day, you're going a long way to making real difference to the health of your teeth, and your overall health.
Research has shown that milk and cheese can help prevent tooth decay. Milk, cheese and yoghurt contain minerals such as calcium, casein and phosphorus that help protect tooth enamel. So, try and include 3 serves of dairy in your diet each day.
Limit snacking between meals
Saliva is produced to help protect your teeth from acid attack. Its good work in neutralising the acids can however be undone if you snack frequently between meals. Lots of snacking of sugary foods means your teeth don't get a break from the acid attacks that occur when you eat. Also, limit sugary treats to meal times, rather than between meals.
Watch what you eat
It is not just the obvious sweet foods and drinks such as lollies and soft drinks that can cause decay. Frequent snacking on foods with hidden sugars like biscuits, crackers, cereals, chips and even dried fruit (these foods break down into sugars in the mouth) can cause acid attacks on your tooth enamel.
Chewing sugar-free gum (it must be sugar-free!) may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re thinking about good dietary habits that benefit your teeth. But studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating can prompt your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps neutralise decay-causing acid attacks.
Don’t eat too much before bed
It is important not to eat substantial amounts of food just before sleeping. This can lead to stomach acid bubbling up the oesophagus (food pipe), a known contributor to weakening tooth enamel and tooth decay.
For any nutritional advice and support, please contact our Coast Sport Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) and Accredited Sports Dietitian (ASD), Jo Allan
for a consultation, call (02) 4356 2588
or book online www.coastsport.com.au