Nutrition and maintaining a healthy mouth

We are privileged in the UK to have such incredible dental services, which in some cases can work miracles on our teeth. However, watching what we chose to put in our mouth can have extreme effects on our pearly whites. And remember, regular visits to the dentist and brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is still standard!

Tips for a healthy mouth

Here are some nutritional tips to help maintain healthy teeth:  

Sugar intake

The evidence is clear, an increased sugar intake (particularly free sugar) causes the enamel to dissolve (due to the production of acids formed when sugar is consumed) and therefore has a negative impact on our tooth health. However, it’s worth noting that the frequency of sugar intake is an important factor.

Our teeth are able to repair themselves, along with dental care if exposed to sugars on the rare occasion. The more we expose our teeth to sugar acid attacks the less time they have to repair, resulting in a higher risk of tooth decay and dental erosion.

Tip: Try consuming sugar alongside meals so that the sugar and acid have less time to attack the teeth. Also try and reduce sugar intake, especially sugary drinks and try waiting longer in-between consumption to allow your teeth to recover.

Limit dried fruit consumption

Do you ever feel that when you eat dried fruit it can stick around your teeth? Well, this can provide a good source of sugar for the bacteria in our mouth to feed on and hence produce the acid that attacks our teeth.

Tip: Dried fruits are very nutritious as they contain vitamins, minerals and fibre so they shouldn’t be excluded from the diet. Try to consume dried fruit alongside other foods, for example with yoghurt or nuts and seeds.

Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after food and drink.

Research has suggested that brushing teeth whilst our mouth is still acidic, can actually damage the hard tissue on our teeth. Therefore waiting 30 minutes after eating helps prevent this from happening. The British Dental Association (BDA) even advises not to eat or drink anything one hour before bedtime to help prevent the wearing of enamel when brushing.

Think before you drink

It sounds simple enough that if you’re wanting to maintain a healthy mouth, you limit sugary and acidic drinks such as soft and fizzy drinks. However limiting our coffee, tea (even herbal teas) and red wine intake can also help maintain a healthy mouth as research has shown they contain chromogens which contribute staining.

The BDA has advised that rinsing your mouth with water after sugar consumption or drinking water alongside your cake or coffee is a good way to help protect your teeth.

Drinking water more often not only helps maintain a healthy mouth, but it also helps keep us hydrated. Increasing water consumption is also important for skin health and maintenance of bodily functions.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Reading, Berkshire, RG2 9HT
Written by Phoebe Wharton, BSc (Hons) ANutr
Reading, Berkshire, RG2 9HT

I am a fully qualified and Registered Associate Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (AFN). I offer professional Nutritional and lifestyle advice, constantly keeping up to date with the latest scientific research and translating this into practical guidance. There are many areas of nutrition I can help with. Please contact me for more.

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