Is your diet damaging your teeth?

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Like to eat and do basic human functions? You'll need your teeth! 

Teeth are necessary for survival – they make it possible for us to eat and to speak clearly. And no one can argue that a dazzling bright smile will stand you in good stead in the popularity stakes.

People lose teeth through caries, gum disease, illness trauma and several other causes. With simple steps, you can preserve your teeth for the rest of your life. 

Healthy teeth

Fluoride has been identified as the most important factor in preventing tooth decay. Fluoride in the water supply, in toothpaste and oral rinses will coat teeth with a protective layer and promote so-called tooth remineralisation (repair of holes in the teeth). 

Many types of food cause tooth decay depending on how sticky they are, so most carbohydrates, such as bread, biscuits, dried fruit and sweets will stick to the teeth causing caries.

One of the biggest culprits is fruit juice, which can cause demineralisation or “etching” of the tooth enamel and expose the underlying tooth to acid attack. Some of the worst acidic culprits include:

  • Lemon juice.
  • Wine.
  • Sports drinks.
  • Carbonated soft drinks and diet sodas.
  • Plums.
  • Iced tea.
  • Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
  • Grapefruit juice.
  • Pickles.
  • Vinegar.
  • Apple juice. 
  • Salad dressing.
  • Cranberries.
  • Orange juice.
  • Tomatoes.

Good-teeth foods:

Certain fruits and vegetables have been shown to “scrub” the teeth as you chew. They can also help promote the flow of saliva, which neutralises acids and protects teeth. Dairy products and some cheeses which are high in calcium can help keep teeth white as the lactic acid prevents decay.

Other foods which are not so acidic on the teeth include:

  • Yoghurt.
  • Bananas.
  • Cheese.
  • Broccoli.
  • Avocado.
  • Cucumber.
  • Black olives.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Milk.
  • Mineral water.

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