Nutrition and Your Teeth
It has long been known that good nutrition and a well-balanced diet is one of the best defences for your oral health. Providing your body with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals helps your teeth and gums, as well as your immune system-stay strong and ward off infection, decay and disease.
Harmful acids and bacteria in your mouth are left behind from eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates. These include carbonated beverages, some kinds of fruit juices, and many kinds of starch foods like pasta, bread and cereal.
Children’s Nutrition and Teeth
Good eating habits that begin in early childhood can go a long way to ensuring a lifetime of good oral health.
Children should eat foods rich in calcium and other kinds of minerals, as well as a healthy balance of the essential food groups like vegetables, fruits, dairy products, poultry and meat. Fluoride supplements may be helpful if you live in a community without fluoridated water but consult with our office first. (Be aware that sugars are even found in some kinds of condiments, as well as fruits and even milk.)
Allowing your children to eat excessive amounts of junk food (starches and sugars)-including potato chips, cookies, crackers, soda, even artificial fruit rollups and granola bars-only places them at risk for serious oral health problems, including obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes. The carbonation found in soda, for example, can actually erode tooth enamel. Encourage your child to use a straw when drinking soda; this will help keep at least some of the carbonated beverage away from the teeth.
Adult Nutrition and Teeth
There’s no discounting the importance of continuing a healthy balanced diet throughout your adult life. The average Canadian eats the equivalent of 40 kg of sugar each year. A few ways you can cut down include:
- Try to use sugar-free snacks.
- Add less sugar to coffee or tea (or use sugar substitutes.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
- Look for fruit juices and drinks with no added sugar.
- Read lists of ingredients when you are grocery shopping. Honey, molasses, liquid invert sugar, glucose, and fructose are all types of sugar.
- When you do eat sweets, avoid sticky sweets.
- Carry a travel-size toothbrush and use it after eating sweets.