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Beware of ‘low fat’ products

We are becoming a more health conscious society and supermarkets are catering for this, however fat free and low-fat products usually contain higher quantities of sugar to help improve the palatability and flavour and to add bulk to the product.

No added sugar doesn’t mean no sugar

Fruit cordials can be very misleading when it comes to sugar content. Many people believe that no added sugar means sugar free. Consuming these types of drinks frequently throughout the day and over long periods of time can be detrimental to your oral health. Consuming predominately plain water is really important, however, if you do occasionally drink anything containing sugar its best to use a straw to limit the exposure to the teeth.

Fresh is best

Fruit contains sugars however these sugars are naturally occurring and are better for our health, as opposed to refined sugars, and are best eaten fresh and whole. This comes down to how ‘sticky’ fruit becomes in different forms. When fruits are blended they release more sugars and this forms a coating which can adhere to one’s tooth surface easier. Also, dried fruits tend to be really sticky therefore residing in gaps and fissures in the teeth with more ease, putting you at a higher risk of dental decay.

Snacking

It is very common for people to skip meals, with breakfast being the most frequently missed meal of the day. However, by eating three main meals, especially breakfast as it’s the best way to start your day and not only will it increase your metabolism but it will also help to reduce the urge to snack between meals, particularly on sugary substances such as biscuits. It is important that if you do snack, then nuts and cheese are much better options for your teeth rather than sugar-based snacks. If you have a ‘sweet tooth’ it’s advisable that you try to have a ‘treat day’ to help reduce daily consumption. Eating any sweet substances is best after a meal as opposed to snacking on it throughout the day.

Snacking

Alcoholic beverages

Alcohol consumption is accountable for 11% of our daily sugar intake which dramatically effects our oral health. Its not just the obvious ‘alcopops’ that contain sugar its also ciders, beers and wines. It is important to try and limit alcohol consumption and once again using a straw will limit the contact to your teeth.

Why is sugar so detrimental to teeth?

When it comes to sugar, even those present in fruits, it is important to be aware that the frequency is more of an issue as opposed to the amount when it comes to our teeth. Every time we eat a sugary substance the Ph in our mouth changes which then forms more of an acidic environment. If the teeth are exposed to these acids more than 5 times a day then the teeth become weaker and over time these acids penetrate the tooth surface and form cavities, which results in requiring fillings or in some cases more extensive treatment such as root canal treatment.

Having regular dental examinations allows your teeth to be screened for dental decay. If a small hole is starting to form its important that its treated before more extensive treatment is required. Your dental hygienist will advise you how to best look after your teeth and what toothpastes to use to help prevent decay.

Natalie Ladosu
Dental Hygienist