COVID-19 has truly been a testing time for everybody. I hope that you’re all well during this very confusing time in our lives.
It is great that restrictions are easing.
It is now time again to remember ourselves and take care of ourselves. Make sure you head to your dentist for your hygiene visit now that we are open.
Sugar & Your Teeth
With restrictions easing & life slowly returning to normal, I would like to focus on some home care and dental hygiene practices that will help you take control of your oral hygiene at home. I know many of us have been snacking on things that we probably wouldn’t normally eat. Having the pantry and fridge in such close proximity to us while working from home is so tempting. As a parent myself I am mindful of what I buy as my children will only eat what I have available or offer them. So if your pantry is not full of chips, chocolate and soft drinks you will be doing your children and yourself a favour.
You may already know that sugar causes tooth decay. Our western diet that is high in processed food makes us more at risk of having tooth decay. Basically anything in a packet that is processed has sugar, and usually lots of it.
Our oral bacteria thrives on sugars and subsequently produce acid that damage our teeth and cause tooth decay or caries. The main point that I am making is that bacteria in our mouths absolutely love sugar. Especially sticky sugar! Have you ever had that furry feeling on your teeth after eating something?
Now that we are coming out of lockdown hibernation, to improve your oral health, try to avoid having sticky high sugar foods & drinks. If you do happen to treat yourself and have something that is sugary, drink lots of water straight after. Or even better brush your teeth using a fluoridated toothpaste. And floss at least once daily because our toothbrush doesn’t get between our teeth. And no, using a toothpick does not replace floss as you still have to floss. Personally, toothpicks do not have a place in my dental routine.
A Bit About Nutrition From A Dentist’s Perspective
Our bodies rely on a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, fibre, nutrients like vitamins and minerals to function and survive. Who really reads the nutrition labels of food that we eat? I wish I had the time. My first tip would be to have a look at the labels now and choose foods that have low sugar per 100g (e.g. 10g of sugar or less per 100g).
During lockdown, many of us have loved treating ourselves with foods high in sugar. Sometimes we are unaware that our snack is full of sugar. Sugars are usually hidden in juices, soft drinks, sports drinks, sauces, chips, biscuits, cereals and muesli bars. By eating vegetables and dairy such as cheese, you will not only improve your general health but also your dental health. And remember to drink lots of water. Yes this could even be in the form of herbal teas such as chamomile. You may like sugar free options or sugar replacements such as artificial sweeteners. Although, I wouldn’t have too many of these, but I’m not a nutritionist. For more Australian dietary information, click here.
The more often that you snack, the harder that your saliva has to work to buffer that snack and clear the sugar from your teeth. So, I would suggest limiting your snacks, and when you do snack, choose healthier options. Leave that cake for special occasions. And realistically it’s impossible to carry a toothbrush and brush your teeth after your every snack. As mentioned earlier, drink plenty of water to help your saliva clear the sugar and help minimise tooth decay.
You would be amazed at how many illnesses are interconnected with oral health. These include cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
With many of us guilty of ove-endulging during lockdown, now is a reminder to take care of your mouth and yourself. See your dentist. And watch that sugar intake.