Good dental health like good general health relies on having healthy eating habits. Our teeth can be affected as much by our diet, as by not brushing our teeth regularly. Modern diets can be high in sugar, fats and salt, impacting both on general and oral health.
Eat for your teeth!
Adding sugar to our drinks is an obvious source of added sugar. However, a much larger source of added sugar is hidden in processed foods such as cakes, sweets, biscuits, ice-cream etc.
- ADDED SUGAR = empty calories
- SUGAR = no vitamins, no minerals, no protein, no fibre
- TOO MUCH SUGAR TOO OFTEN = tooth decay, obesity, diabetes type 2
- Eat whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread and whole grains pasta.
- Fish, poultry, beans and nuts are all examples of healthy protein.
- Eat plenty of fruit of all colours and plenty of vegetables – the greater the variety the better.
- Eat dairy products in moderation. Drink water.
- Avoid sweets, biscuits and cakes, as they are high in sugar and lead to tooth decay.
- Limit fizzy drinks an acidic fruit juices as they are harmful to teeth and lead to erosion.
Reading labels and hidden sugars!
When reading the labels on food packets, it is important to know how much sugar has been added. However, it is easy to get confused. 4.2g of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon. The higher the sugar content, the closer it appears to the start of the label on the food or dink packaging.
Be careful! Sugar may be described as different names on labels and they all add up. So beware of sucrose, glucose, lactose, galactose, dextrose, maltose, demerara, brown sugar, maple sugar, honey, molasses or treacle syrup.
- Sugar Free (EU Directive): Product contains no more than 0.5g of sugars per 100g or 100ml
- Low Sugars (EU Directive): Product contains no more than 5g of sugar per 100g (Solids) or 2.5g sugar per 100mls (Liquids)
- No Added Sugar (EU Directive): No food added for sweetening properties but may state “contains naturally occuring sugar”