Teeth to diet for

A healthy lifestyle means healthier teeth...

Posted: 06.03.12

The condition of your teeth is directly affected by your lifestyle choices. We all know about the damage caused by drinks such as coffee and alcohol, but it’s also important to maintain an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.
Start with a good balance of all nutrients, an adequate amount of water, and avoid beverages and carbonated drinks with artificial flavours and colouring agents. Along with causing unwanted tooth discolouration, these artificial ingredients influence the enamel structure by weakening its surface and making teeth more susceptible to dental caries such as decay and cavities.
Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve your dental health, but increasing fibre and vitamin intake may also reduce the risk of other diseases.

• Always keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues.
• Check the label before you buy. Cereals such as muesli can be abrasive because they contain nuts. Different foods can affect different teeth, but in most cases, high sugar can cause decay, while citrus fruits and drinks can cause erosion.
• Eat raw fruit and vegetables on a regular basis. Crunchy apples, firm carrots and crisp celery sticks can help remove plaque and prevent build-up of tartar on your teeth.
• Restrict intake of sugary foods such as sweets, biscuits, caramel, cakes, pastries.
• Incorporate dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli into your diet. These types of vegetables help strengthen your gum tissue and prevent inflammation.
• Eat calcium-rich foods such as yoghurt and cheese to help develop and maintain strong, healthy teeth. Cheese neutralises harmful decay-causing acids in your mouth and helps to rebuild and strengthen your tooth enamel.
• Avoid foods and drinks that contribute to teeth discoloration. Coffee, black tea, herbal teas, red wine, soy sauce and curry are all known to stain teeth.
• There are some more surprising foods on the danger list — smoothies and juices, for instance.
The recent craze for healthy eating means that acid attack is becoming more common. Your favourite fruit drink may contain no added sugar, but it is high in acid, which strips the enamel from your teeth. While eating lots of fruit and vegetables and getting your five-a-day is undoubtedly a good thing, large amounts of these foods, which contain natural sugars, mean that acid erosion begins to play a part.
• Honey, fresh fruit juice and dried fruit all contain sugars. Sports drinks and high energy drinks also contain a lot of sugars. Because they are continuously sipped during a work out to maintain energy levels, the teeth are under constant attack from the sugars and at risk of tooth decay.
• Get plenty of exercise. The healthier the body, the healthier the teeth.

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