Food for Thought
Cavities are a total party pooper. One minute you’re feasting your way through a Sunday roast, and the next you’re clutching your mouth in agony, looking for an emergency dentist appointment. It goes without saying that your daily brushing, flossing and rinsing routine (paired with twice-yearly dentist visits) are essential for your teeth no matter what’s on your plate. Everything you eat and drink, for better or worse, plays a role in the development or prevention of tooth decay. So what do you need to consider before chowing down?
The Dairy Digest
Excellent news – dairy delights such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are proud supporters of strong teeth. With a fancy mix of vitamins (including A, B12 and Riboflavin), minerals (including calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and zinc), protein and carbs, dairy products play an important role in our nutrition right from the start. A protein in dairy foods called casein creates a protective coating over your enamel when combined with calcium and phosphorous, which then reduces the risk of decay. Just keep your eye out for any natural (and sometimes added) sugars that might be lurking in there too – just remember to check out the sugar content before checking in on the cheese train.
Get Finicky about Fruit
While fruit is full of goodness and bursting with vitamins and nutrients, it can also be highly acidic and rich in natural sugar. This sugar hangs around on your teeth, helping acid producing, enamel-eroding bacteria to thrive. The acid in fruits can also soften enamel, leading to erosion (signs of which include wear, sensitivity and discolouration). Fruit such as pineapples, mangos and oranges are high in sugar and acid – so eat them less often than you would low-sugar varieties such as berries, peaches, apples, watermelon and kiwi fruit.
It’s not a surprise that lollies and soft drinks are not so great for your dental health (not to mention health in general). Tooth decay begins when the bacteria in your mouth breaks down sugar and produces acid which attacks the teeth, weakening the enamel and leaving those teeth vulnerable to cavities and decay. So how can you enjoy a treat (or two) and keep your teeth top of their game? For starters, eat sugar in moderation and if you do decide to indulge, try to keep it to meal times. Rinse your mouth with water post-indulgence to minimise any trace of lingering sugar, and check in with your dentist twice a year. You see, plaque is a stubborn little beast. It starts building up after every meal and if not brushed away regularly, harbours bacteria that erode tooth enamel, causing cavities. While good dental hygiene is the best first defence, regular dental check-ups will ensure your teeth are strong and healthy for many food-savouring years to come.
What should you do next?
Find your nearest nib Dental Care centre and make an appointment today. With numerous locations offering a comprehensive range of services, it’s easy to find the exceptional care and expertise you (and your children) deserve.