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Nutrition and Oral Health

A well balanced diet is not only important for your general health but your oral health too! Not only will eating a balanced diet help to reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, it can also contribute in a positive way to keeping your mouth healthy. Without the right foods and proper nutrition, your teeth and gums can become more susceptible to dental caries and gum disease.

Sugar is the biggest concern for oral health. The average Canadian consumes the equivalent of 40kg of sugar each year! Foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and starches can contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack tooth enamel. Eventually, these acids can cause the tooth enamel to break down which results in a cavity and tooth sensitivity.

Prevention and home care are your best defense against harmful plaque acids! Try to limit foods and beverages that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. If any sugary foods or drinks are consumed, attempt to eat or drink it quickly so that you limit the amount of sugar exposures. Check food labels and ingredients while at the grocery store and avoid buying products that have sugar listed as the first ingredient. Maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice daily at minimum with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss regularly.

Foods to avoid that contribute to poor oral health

  • Sticky foods such as raisins, granola bars, and honey or tacky candies such as caramels, toffee, licorice
  • Sugar snacks – sugar gum, cakes, cookies, chocolate or other high sugar treats
  • Soft drinks – contain high sugar and acids that can wear away teeth
  • Fruit juice/energy drinks
  • Other foods and drinks high in acid such as lemon water, wine, salad dressing which can cause tooth erosion
  • Hidden ingredients in food labels that are other names for sugar such as molasses, liquid invert sugar, glucose and fructose

Healthy snacks that are low in sugar and high in nutrition

  • High fat plain yogurt and hard cheeses
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Fruits and Vegetables (apples, berries, carrots, slices cucumbers or bell peppers for example)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese
  • Water (fluoridated is recommended)

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