What do the foods that you eat say about the likely long term health of your teeth and gums?
Especially when compared to early dental care, modern dentistry can now perform wonders in restoring teeth that are damaged or decayed. The latest procedures make the chances of retaining a damaged natural tooth much higher; but what also plays a major part in your ability to keep your own teeth, is what you put into your mouth.
In addition to the specialist dental treatments that we provide at Blue Sky Dental, we always keep in mind the fundamentals of good oral health care, and regularly remind our Chelmsford patients that, by and large, they have the majority of control over whether their teeth are healthy or not.
In addition to how well they clean and floss their teeth at home, supplemented by periodic visits to our hygienist, it is often day-to-day eating and drinking habits that create the biggest impact on their teeth.
The well known number one enemy of healthy teeth is, of course, sugar. What may not be as well known though, is that sugar itself is not directly responsible for tooth decay. What it does is provide an effective food source for the bacteria in our teeth that do cause the damage to our teeth. A constant and steady flow of sugar products will almost certainly mean a rise in the number of harmful bacteria in our mouth. It is the acidic bi-products from these which will gradually destroy the enamel of your teeth and eventually allow the bacteria to find their way into the inner and more vulnerable parts of our teeth. When this occurs, toothache and root canal infections are probably not very far away.
By reducing the quantity of sugar that you consume, including sugars that are ‘hidden’ in foods, you will, in effect, be cutting off the food source of these bacteria and limiting the damage that they do. By reducing their number, it should be easier to to keep your teeth clean and healthy with regular brushing and flossing.
Carbonated and sports drinks
We have mentioned these in previous blog posts, and it is worth doing so again. These increasingly popular drinks can be incredibly harmful to our teeth. Not only are they very often high in sugar but have an alarmingly high acidity level. Because they pass over our teeth as we generally drink from a bottle or can, our teeth take the full brunt of their damaging ingredients. Enamel erosion can happen very quickly, leading to sensitive teeth and a high risk of tooth decay. Try to restrict the amount of these that you drink, or, better still, avoid them altogether.
We are constantly told to eat more fruit and veg, and, whilst these are healthy and do help to provide essential vitamins and minerals, citric fruits especially, are not entirely problem free. The citric acids in these fruits is very damaging to the teeth in excess. This is why following ‘natural’ methods that include lemon juice to whiten your teeth is a very bad idea.
We are not saying that you shouldn’t eat fruit of course, but do please be aware of the potential pitfalls and try not to eat anything overly acidic in excess.
Tea, coffee and red wine
Although most alcoholic drinks contain sugar; generally speaking if you don’t add sugar to your tea or coffee, these are relatively problem free products as far as the health of your teeth is concerned. They do though, mean that the chances of your teeth staining are pretty high. Both tea and red wine contain tannins that are well known to darken the colour of your teeth.
If you have not had your teeth professionally cleaned by our Chelmsford hygienist, it is highly likely that you will have some degree of tartar on your teeth. This is a collection of bacteria and minerals, but one that forms a rough surface that attracts staining materials, and in no time at all, you are likely to find that your teeth become discoloured. Providing that you brush your teeth well at home in between visits to us, it should be possible to remove much of this surface staining with a scale and polish carried out at by the Blue Sky Dental hygiene team.
If you can reduce, or eliminate, these food groups from your daily diet, perhaps just saving them for a special ‘treat’, it will be a significant step towards keeping your teeth in good health. It may be difficult in these modern times to entirely eliminate sugars from your diet, as they are often hidden in even the most savoury foods, but a quick inspection of the packaging of any convenience food that you buy should enable you to keep the quantity down.
It also pays to make sure that you have a scale and polish procedure at least every six months at our Chelmsford practice. This will not only keep any staining to a minimum but will also help to ensure that your gums are clean and healthy and free from gum disease.
Blue Sky Dental are here to help you in your quest to have healthy and great looking teeth! Appointments can be made by calling us during the practice opening times, on 01245 211070.