Most people know that frequent consumption of sugar can lead to dental decay. Soft drinks, lollies and sweets are often blamed for dental decay (and in most cases they are the main offenders).
Bacteria that live on our teeth convert sugar into acid which destroys tooth surface.
However other foods and drinks can also contribute to dental decay as they contain “hidden sugar”. They include potato chips, salad dressings, sauces, fruit juices, flavoured water, peanut butter, cereals, muesli bars and many other processed foods and drinks. “No added sugar” labelling can also be misleading as product may already have a large quantity of naturally occurring sugar.
Manufacturers often add sugar to enhance product’s flavour, especially of the low-fat alternatives. All foods and drinks should have their nutritional values displayed on the packaging or available through manufacturers. Quantity per 100 g will give you the best idea of sugar content.
- Solids 0-5 g
- Liquids 0-2.5 g
- Solids 5-12.5 g
- Liquids 2.5- 7.5 g
- Solids more than 12.5 g
- Liquids more than 7.5 g
It can be impossible to cut out these foods completely but cutting down on them and limiting the consumption to meal-times only will give your teeth a better chance of staying healthy.
Try snacking on tooth-friendly foods like hard cheese, nuts, wholegrain cereals, lean meats, vegetables and fresh fruits (drink plain water after eating fruit because they are high in acid and fructose). Plain water and milk are the best drinks for your teeth.
Sugar-free chewing gum is also good for teeth as it stimulates saliva which neutralises acids, gets rid of food debris and coats your teeth with protective film. Recaldent™ chewing gum also has bio-available calcium and phosphate added to it which repairs damaged tooth structure, inhibits decay-causing bacteria in the mouth and can reduce tooth sensitivity.