15 Jan

Beware of Sugar and Acidic Foods!

Oral hygiene has a massive bearing on your oral health, but your diet is also really important. Adding some foods to your diet and avoiding others can help to ensure your teeth and gums remain strong and healthy.

What’s so bad about sugary and acidic foods?

Most people will have heard their dentist belying sugary treats, such as cakes and biscuits and this is because sugar contributes to enamel wear and an increased risk of gum disease. When you eat something sugary, the bacteria in your mouth start to feed and they release acids as a by-product. These acids wear away the enamel and irritate the gums. Once the enamel becomes thinner, there is a high risk of decay.
Acidic foods are bad for oral health because they erode the enamel, the protective outer layer of the tooth. Enamel cannot be repaired and once it is worn, the risk of oral infections, decay, tooth sensitivity and gum disease increases.

Which foods are bad for oral health?

As well as the obvious suspects such as cakes, sweets, chocolate bars and ice cream, there are some others you may not have realized may be damaging to your teeth. These include acidic foods and drinks such as fruit juice, wine and vinegar-based salad dressing, as well as sugary and starchy foods and drinks including sports and energy drinks, shop-bought smoothies and crisps.

Are there any foods that are beneficial for oral health?

Foods and drinks that contain calcium have many benefits for oral health. Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones and can be found in milk, butter and yoghurts. Vitamins are also important for good oral and general health. Vitamin C helps to keep the immune system strong and reduce the risk of infections and gum disease and it also plays an important role in the repair of cells. Good sources of vitamin C include berries, broccoli, peppers and citrus fruits.
As well as what you eat, when you eat can also be a factor when it comes to oral health. When you eat, the enamel becomes temporarily weaker and there is a higher risk of damage. It takes some time for the enamel to re-harden and this is why it is important to wait around 1 hour to brush your teeth after you have eaten. Your enamel is only strong enough to cope with a limited number of acid attacks per day, so try to stick to three main meals rather than snacking during the day.