Found in: Dental Hygiene

The Role of Nutrition in Healthy Gums and Teeth

Dr. Tara Pollonais, Paediatric Dentist has given us some information to share with you on how nutrition affects your gums and teeth

  1. Stick to a well-balanced diet from the 4 basic food groups. Diets low in certain nutrients (folic acid, calcium and phosphorus) can make it harder to ward off gum disease.
  2. If you have to eat sweets, restrict them to mealtime. Each time the bacteria in your mouth produce acids from sugar, these acids attack your tooth enamel for as long as 30 mins. Each time you eat sugary food, you encourage an acid attack. Multiple attacks promote tooth decay.
  3. Beware of starches. Most carbohydrates, including those in bread and pasta can be fermented in the mouth. Make sure you brush and floss the harmful effects away after eating.
  4. Sticky foods such as raisins, honey and toffees cling to the teeth and give the acids more time to attack. Snack on raw vegetables, nuts, popcorn and yogurt instead, and rinse your mouth afterward.
  5. Look for hidden sugars. Many processed foods, even peanut butter, contain sugar as flavour-enhancers. Read labels. Even fruit contains natural sugars that feed plaque bacteria.
  6. Eat more fiber, less sugar, salts and fats. People tend to eat what is easy, creating nutritional imbalances that can hurt teeth as well as bodies.

Dr. Pollonais has also found that during stressful exam times like SEA, CXC and CAPE there is a fall off in dental hygiene and she sees more patients with dental caries during these months. So remember to keep brushing and flossing, and visit your dentist yearly.