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Diet and Dental Health

The prevention of dental decay begins with cutting down the amount of sugars taken in all forms. Most people think we refer only to sweets as the culprits. But there are other dangerous sugar-containing foods as well 
Some of them are:

1. All sugars (including honey)
2. Soft drinks such as colas and 
3. Nearly all cereals
4. Cakes, biscuits and puddings.
5. Jam on your bread, marmalade on your toast.
6. Chocolates, sweets and toffees.
7. Peppermint sweets (they are the most dangerous because people believe the peppermint taste to be  ‘medicinal’. These sweets are almost pure sugar).

As has been shown already, both dental caries and periodontal disease are the result of bacterial action, in the plaque, which collects on the teeth and gums.

A chocolate candy bar of about 50 grams may contain the equivalent of ten teaspoons of sugar! A slice of two-layer chocolate cake may be the equivalent of fifteen teaspoons of sugar!

These sugars are not an essential part of a normal diet. Hence reducing the total intake, will not only benefit the teeth, but also the general health. However, it is the frequency of sugar intake, more than the total consumption, which is important in influencing tooth decay. It was shown that the acid formed on the tooth in seconds from sugar might take twenty minutes or more to disappear from the mouth. Thus, small sugary snacks every two or three hours throughout the day will keep the teeth bathed in a dangerous acid state.

If Children must have sweets, they should have them only once a day (preferably during meal time). But it is better to recommend sugar-free snacks. A good list would contain:

Fruits:          Apples, Oranges, Pears, Bananas
Vegetables: Carrots, Celery, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cucumber, also Nuts, Crisps, Cheese (in cubes), Eggs, Milk, Yogurt.

In this way if we eliminate sugar, we reduce the formation of plaque by  depriving the bacteria of the food, from which they form the acid.

The damage by erosion that, say, lemon juice can do to the enamel will have to be seen to be believed, So avoid frequent tooth contact with lemons, grapefruit, vinegar and other strongly acid substances.

The chemist’s shop may also be a source of danger to the teeth, many cough and throat sweets, lozenges, syrups, and elixirs are loaded with sugar, sometimes up to 50-60 percent. This is to make the product palatable.


Disclaimer - The contents of this site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a dental condition.

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