Our teeth like the rest of our body require to be looked after, be it in the kind of food we consume or the way we keep it free of germs. Our body is just like a complex machine. The food that we eat is the feed or fuel to the machine. How often we fill up our stomach with this fuel, i.e., our food, affects our general health. It has its effect on our teeth and gums, as well. Food containing sugar, sweetened fruits drinks, and non-nutritious snack are injurious to our teeth.
Most dentists are concerned that their patients are consuming a record number of sugar filled sodas, sweetened fruits drinks, and such other stuff that affect their teeth. Children are invariably the victims of these foodstuffs. These items generally have very little nutritional value except for their commercial value. They can take a big toll on teeth over time.
Eating habits and the choice of food among children and teens are important factors that determine how quickly youngsters may develop tooth decay. The saliva produced by the salivary glands contains a sticky thin layer of bacteria or a substance known as Plaque. If we do not clean our teeth after eating anything then as the saliva comes in contact with the sugary content in the food that we eat, the chemical reaction that follows results in production of an acidic substance, which attacks the teeth. This affects the Enamel which can eventually lead to tooth decay. It is necessary that we should eat the right type of food that contains the vital nutrients required by our body, which will also help healthy growth of teeth. Everyone has a different dietary need at various stages of their life depending on the levels of their physical activity. The family Physician or a Registered Dietician is the best person to offer guidance to provide suggestions on our daily calorific requirement of food.
Visit to a Dentist at appropriate intervals helps to eradicate the cause instead of waiting for an oral disease to strike. Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. Almost all foods, including milk or vegetables have some type of sugar in them. However, they shouldn’t be removed from our diets because many of them contain important nutrients. To help control the amount of sugar we consume, it would be advisable to read the food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Added sugars often are present in Soft Drinks, Candy, Cookies and Pastries. This however is only possible when we rely on packed food items and assume prior knowledge of dietary requirements. However majority of people neither have knowledge nor do they depend on such foods articles. Many of us are in the habit of eating snacks in between. There are also a large number of people who have no knowledge of oral disease and their causes. They consider tooth decay a natural process and loss of tooth a part of the ageing process.
Awareness about dental disease and their impact on general health and the need to safeguard oral health and hygiene should be given utmost importance. If our diet lacks certain vital nutrients then it is highly difficult for tissues in our mouth to resist infection. This contributes to periodontal/gum disease which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Although poor nutrition does not cause periodontal disease directly but many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and could be more severe in people with nutrient poor diets.
What then should we do?
1. Brush teeth well twice a day with a Fluoride toothpaste.
2. Floss daily to remove plaque from Under the gums and between teeth.
3. Limit the number of between- meal Snacks.
4. And choose only nutritious snacks that are low in sugar.
5. Visit a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
6. Try and maintain a health diet.