As you’ll no doubt have picked up from our previous blogs, we have a real concern about the effect that poor diet has on the dental health of our patients.
The main culprit is too much sugar, but fizzy drinks (which are acidic and can cause enamel erosion) are also to blame. As well as being detrimental to our dental health, a poor diet can cause other health issues such as obesity and an increased risk of heart disease.
We recommend that the consumption of drinks (fizzy drinks, fruit juices, smoothies, tea/coffee with sugar) and foods that are high in sugars, carbohydrates and starches are kept to a minimum and if you do indulge, keep them for meal times. The number of times in the day you have sugary or acidic foods is important too – stick to mealtimes and at most one or two other intakes per day and the risks of problems are low. More than five separate intakes of sugary/acidic foods or drinks mean a big increase in risk of decay.
If you’re unsure about how much sugar a product contains our main piece of advice is ‘if in doubt, check the small print’. The higher up the word ‘sugar’ appears on a list of ingredients, the more of it there will be in the product. Also, an item that is described as having ‘no added sugar’ isn’t necessarily the healthy alternative it may appear to be – it only means that no extra sugar has been added to it!
In terms of drinks, good choices are milk and still water or diluted sugar free drinks in moderate quantities, again with a meal if you can. Keep snacks to a minimum and make sure they’re healthy – raw veggies, cheese (in moderation) and nuts are all good options.
If you’d like advice on managing your children’s snacking habits, the Change for Life website offers some good tips.
As ever, if you are unsure then ask your dentist. They can offer good advice on what will work well to maintain your dental health.