Nutrition for Orodental Hygiene

Are you confused about what to eat, and what not to eat, to maintain great oral hygiene? Let’s check out some food that can give you a sparkling smile…

Foods that help muscles and bones also help teeth and gums.

Breads and cereals are rich in vitamin B, while fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, both of which contribute to healthy gum tissue. Lean meat, fish, and poultry provide magnesium and zinc for teeth.

Some foods may protect against cavities by naturally containing fluorine, from which fluoride is derived. Fluoride is naturally present in all water. Community water fluoridation is the addition of fluoride to adjust the natural fluoride concentration of a community’s water supply to the level recommended for optimal dental health, approximately 1.0 ppm (parts per million). One ppm is the equivalent of 1 mg/L.

However in some areas, the fluoride content of water may be excessive (>100 ppm). Dental fluorosis can occur in such situations. Enamel formed may be strong but brittle and there may be brown spots on the teeth. Such water must be taken only after defluoridation.

Milk and cheese are rich in calcium and phosphate, and may also encourage remineralisation.

All foods increase saliva production, and since saliva contains buffer chemicals, this helps to stabilize the pH to near 7 (neutral) in the mouth. Foods high in fibre may also help to increase the flow of saliva. A bolus of fibre, like celery string, can force saliva into the trapped food inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces (where over 80% of cavities occur), to dilute carbohydrates like sugar, neutralise acid, and remineralise teeth.

Sugar-free chewing gum stimulates saliva production, and helps to clean the surface of the teeth


Harmful foods for oral Hygiene

Sugars are commonly associated with dental cavities. Other carbohydrates, especially cooked starches, e.g. crisps/potato chips, may also damage teeth, although to a lesser degree (and indirectly) since starch has to be converted to sugars by salivary amylase (an enzyme in the saliva) first. Sugars that are higher in the stickiness index, such as toffee, are likely to cause more damage to teeth than those that are less sticky, such as certain forms of chocolate or most fruits.

Sucrose (table sugar) is most commonly associated with cavities. The amount of sugar consumed at any one time is less important than how often food and drinks that contain sugar are consumed. The more frequently sugars are consumed, the greater the time during which the tooth is exposed to low pH levels, at which point demineralisation occurs.

It is important therefore, to try to encourage infrequent consumption of food and drinks containing sugar, so that teeth have a chance to be repaired by remineralisation and fluoride. Limiting sugar-containing foods and drinks to meal times is one way to reduce the incidence of cavities.

Sugars from fruit and fruit juices, e.g., glucose, fructose, and maltose seem equally likely to cause cavities.

Acids contained in fruit juice, vinegar, and soft drinks lower the pH level of the oral cavity, which causes the enamel to demineralize. Drinking liquids such as orange juice or cola throughout the day raises the risk of dental cavities tremendously.

Smoking and chewing tobacco are both strongly linked with multiple dental diseases. Smoking with the fire-end inside the mouth is a common practice nowadays. This is often associated with oral cancer apart from damage to teeth, gums, teeth and throat. A campaign should be launched to ban tobacco use in general and all smokers must be asked to quit smoking with immediate effect.

Regular vomiting, as seen in bulimia nervosa, also causes significant damage.

Caffeine products are known to cause teeth to stain, though this can usually be cleaned by drinking fresh water after a caffeinated drink, and at the dentist’s office, by surface cleaning.

Mouthwash or mouth rinse with saline (salty water), fluoridated solution, or the antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate solution helps to improve oral hygiene.

Dental chewing gums claim to improve dental health.

In conclusion, it may be said that having a clean mouth and clear teeth not only reduce problems related to teeth, and even systemic diseases like heart disease, endocarditis, etc., but also improve the physical appearance of any person!

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