If you are concerned about your oral health, then you must also be concerned with what you eat says the American Dental Association(ADA). Many of us have known this all along, but what is surprising, is that sugary foods and drinks are more popular now than ever. Why this is the case is beyond the scope of this post, but what I will address is how you can minimize the impact of these “harmful” foods on your oral health.
Before we get to that, it is important to note that the most foods contain some amount of sugar – even fruits and vegetables. Nobody is suggesting that fruits and vegetable should be eliminated from your diet because they contain important vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. What we are concerned with here are foods and drinks that are chock full of sugar and have no nutritional value to us whatsoever. This would include soft drinks, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snacks.
So what do such foods and drinks do to our teeth over time that is so bad? Well, according to the ADA, “When bacteria (plaque) come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay.” Tooth decay is a very ugly condition that not only puts your oral health in jeopardy, but your overall health as well. So, it is best to avoid it at all costs.
How can you minimize your risk of tooth decay? The ADA suggests the following:
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Make sure water is readily available.
- Limit the number of between-meal snacks. When you must snack, choose nutritious foods that are low in sugar.
- Brush thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
- Floss or use another kind of interdental cleaner daily to remove plaque (a thin film of bacteria) from under the gums and between teeth.
- Schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings.
- Keep a food diary for a week. Record every item you eat and drink, including hard candies or chewing gum that contains sugar. Compare the diary to the Food Pyramid recommendations.
If you can not follow all of these guidelines right away, start with one and work your way up. When you are following all of these guidelines you may greatly reduce your risk of tooth decay!
Source: Dental Heroes