Diet and tooth decay

  • August 12, 2015

    Diet and tooth decay

    We all know the dangers of failing to brush and floss, but there are other “hidden” risks to our teeth that are really, really, REALLY worth knowing about.

    Australian Dental Association oral health committee chairman Dr Peter Alldritt confirms that “The main cause of tooth decay is frequent consumption of sugar on a regular basis.”  So, in what every day foods and drinks do you find hidden sugars?  Are you are constant snacker?

    Tooth Decay

    The Australian Dental Association is a great source of information and here is a quick summary of some quick facts:

    • Some medicines contain sugar for taste. If your child is prescribed medicine, ask your doctor if this can be sugar-free and not acidic.

    • Foods containing sugar substitutes do not appear to increase decay risk. Ask your dentist if xylitol (a natural sweetener) containing products would be useful in reducing your children’s risk of tooth decay.

    • Fluoride is a natural element that strengthens teeth and protects against decay. Most towns and cities in Australia modify fluoride levels in the water supply to achieve recommended levels. Your dentist can tell you if your local water supply is fluoridated.

    • Bottled water doesn’t usually contain enough fluoride to offer protection against tooth decay. Some home water filters remove fluoride from tap water. Tank water does not contain fluoride. If your child drinks mostly bottled, filtered or tank water, then talk to your dentist about your child’s fluoride needs. If necessary, your dentist can apply ‘topical’ fluoride to their teeth, which has been proven to reduce childhood tooth decay.

    • Soft drinks can contribute greatly to tooth decay (and obesity) due to the significant amount of sugar they contain. A 600ml bottle can contain up to 13 teaspoons of sugar!

    • Less well known is that soft drinks, even diet soft drinks, along with fruit juices, cordials and sports drinks often have high acid levels, and can play a major role in causing tooth erosion, which is where the soft drink dissolves the tooth structure.

    If you want more information, read this article about the some of the bad things you can do to your teeth without really realising it