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Preventative Dentistry » Healthy Diet

Tooth decay is one of the most common problems seen by UK Dentists. The number of children with tooth decay is particularly disturbing, which is why at St Paul's Dental Practice we are committed to providing patients of all ages with bespoke oral health education. If your children have good dental health habits from an early age, they are more likely to keep these habits up in later life, meaning they are less likely to have serious dental problems. It's never too late to start a strong oral healthcare regime, and one important part of that is having a healthy diet.

A balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and is high in vitamins and minerals also helps to prevent gum disease, as well as being good for your overall health.

Tooth decay happens when sugar reacts with bacteria in your mouth to create acid, which attacks tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to the enamel breaking down, causing a hole in the tooth and speeding up the process of decay. Following a healthy diet that is low in sugar, along with proper tooth cleaning and regular visits to your Dentist, helps to prevent this.

Foods and drinks with a lot of sugar should be avoided or enjoyed in moderation. There are many types of sugar in foods and drinks, including glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose. You should always read the labels of any food or drink you buy, so you know how much sugar you and your children are consuming.

Some high-sugar foods and drinks include:

  • Sweets and cakes.
  • Chocolate.
  • Processed foods
  • Fruit juice and smoothies.
  • Fruit, when eaten in excess.
  • Fizzy drinks such as cola or lemonade.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Honey.

All of these should be enjoyed in moderation, as part of a balanced diet and as part of three main meals a day where possible. If you need a snack, try low-sugar options such as raw vegetables, breadsticks, cheese or nuts.

In addition, some foods such as vinegar, fruit and pickles, and drinks such as alcohol, smoothies and fruit juice are also acidic, which can further damage your tooth enamel.

Healthy eating tips for a happy mouth

  • Limit fruit juice to mealtimes, or dilute it with water.
  • Drink fruit juice and smoothies through a straw.
  • Make water or milk your child's drink of choice.
  • Don't brush your teeth straight after a meal, as this can actually cause more damage because eating naturally weakens the enamel. Wait an hour after eating to brush.
  • Chew sugar-free chewing gum after eating.
  • Be aware of high-sugar food and drink in your diet, and cut down where possible.

We have leaflets on healthy eating for all the family available from the practice – please speak to any member of staff for more information.

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