Nutritional Advisor Elit Rowland unveils how five seemingly healthy diet choices can be contributing to enamel erosion and tooth decay.
Sugar-free alternatives to soft drinks, sweets and gum may be tempting, but can damage teeth and lead to other health problems, according to a report published by The Guardian last year, which states: “Sugar-free gum, sweets and soft drinks, marketed as healthy alternatives to sugary products, can damage teeth, cause gastric problems and are unlikely to promote weight loss.”
It’s important to get to know the different kinds of sweeteners. Many have been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay including xylitol, which has been approved as a tooth-friendly component of chewing gum by the European Union, according to the NHS website. The most commonly used sweeteners used by soft-drink giant Coca‑Cola are aspartame, acesulfame-K and saccharin, which have also been proven safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). If in doubt, read food and drink labels to make sure that your sweeteners are safe. Carbonated drinks - whether sugar-free or not – should be consumed in moderation due to their high acidity, which can erode tooth enamel.
- Stick to chewing gum that is approved as tooth-kind
- Read the label on sugar-free products
- Limit carbonated soft drinks
Juices and smoothies
Apples may keep the doctor away, but they don’t do the same for the dentist. No matter how fresh they are, many fruits juices and smoothies can be acidic and anything with a PH lower that 5.5 may cause tooth decay. This includes orange juice (pH 3.8), grapefruit (pH 3.3), pineapple juice (pH 3.4), cranberry juice (pH 2.6) and even the lemon or vinegar on your salad (both pH 2.0). Stick to alkaline foods which have a high pH level and neutralise the acid effects of sugar. Good alkaline options include
Is persistent bad breath a simple case of oral hygiene, or are there food-related factors at play? Nutritional advisor Elit Rowland considers what dietary changes can promote healthy teeth and gums, and fresher breath.
Everyone has suffered bad breath, also known as halitosis, after eating certain meals. But short-term or transient halitosis, caused by eating strong smelling foods such as curries, onions, garlic and spice-rich meals is only short-lived. The cause of longer-term or persistent bad breath can have deeper diet-related roots that go beyond what happens in the mouth.
Good gut health
If the eyes are the window to your soul, then the mouth can be the window to your gut and bad breath can be the first indicator that things aren’t quite right on the inside.
Poor digestion, constipation and bowl disorders can cause internal gas and some nutritionists believe this can release unpleasant odours into the mouth. A healthy gut can prevent digestive disorders and help to metabolise the nutrients needed to promote healthy teeth and gums.
Probiotic yogurts, drinks and nutritional supplement are a good way to support a healthy gut by topping up good bacteria. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria so try and include plenty in your diet. Good sources include artichoke, spinach, banana and wholegrain bread.
Balance vitamins and minerals
The body needs a good balance of essential vitamins and mineral to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C, found in most fresh fruits and vegetables, is rich in antioxidants and has shown to reduce gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, also associated with halitosis. The body cannot store large amounts, so have a little fruit and veg every day. Vitamin D, found in herring, mackerel, eggs and natural sunshine, has also shown to protect against tooth decay. Calcium promotes healthy teeth and can be found in cheese, almonds,