The temptations of the festive season usually leave many of us in need of some New Year revitalisation. All the excesses of the party season often means starting a diet and exercise plan to help us look and feel slimmer, fitter and healthier.
But its not just a fitter and healthier body we should be concerned with our teeth may also need some TLC. A month of consuming seasonal specialities means they may spend more time exposed to the consequences of sugar and carbohydrates, which is worsened by occasionally falling into bed after many a Christmas party without cleaning our teeth.
The good news is, by following our guide; both your mouth and midriff can get into great shape.
Top Tips for a healthy body and smile
A healthy mouth means a healthy body – doctors have already established link between gum disease and other medical problems. So a clean and healthy mouth can therefore improve your overall health.
When eating for a healthy mouth, there are important considerations like eating nutritious meals, being aware of the amount and timing of consuming sugars and carbohydrates, and maintaining good oral hygiene after meals and snacks.
The key to a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle are eating the right amounts of a variety of foods, and being physically active. To help us eat well, the Food Standards Agency recommends that we choose foods from each of the five major food groups: breads, cereals, and other grains; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; and milk, cheese and yogurt. An adequate supply of nutrients from all five food groups promotes healthy teeth and gums as well as a healthy body.
Eating foods that contain sugars and carbohydrates of any kind can contribute to tooth decay, if left unchecked. And foods you least expect contain sugar, however, they shouldnt be removed from our diets because many of them contain key nutrients and these foods also add pleasure to eating.
Healthy foods for teeth
Get some juicy gossip – drinking fruit juices and smoothies as part of a New Year renewal can help to boost vitamins, and are okay for your teeth if you pay attention to your oral care – check out our mouth and teeth MOT tips below.
Protective foods some foods help protect against tooth decay. For example, hard cheese increases the flow of saliva. Cheese also contains calcium, phosphate and casein, a milk protein, which protects against demineralization. Finishing a meal with a piece of cheese helps counteract acids produced from carbohydrate foods eaten at the same meal. Milk also contains calcium, phosphate and casein, and the milk sugar, lactose, is less cariogenic than other sugars.
Know your carbs – most nutrition panels on food labels give values for carbohydrates, including a breakdown of sugars and starches. Read the labels and choose wisely to meet your energy and nutrient needs.
Chew on it
After a meal or snack, one of the easiest ways to help prevent the build up of plaque and eventual tooth decay is to chew sugarfree gum such as Orbit Complete after eating and drinking. Thats because the action of chewing stimulates saliva production natures very own ingredient for getting rid of harmful acids in the mouth.
Saliva works its magic in three ways. First, it helps to dilute and wash away food and other debris left in the teeth and mouth after eating. Then it helps to neutralise the acids in the mouth. And as if that wasnt enough, the calcium, phosphate fluoride, and hydroxyl ions in saliva helps to protect against early damage of tooth enamel.
Plus, chewing sugarfree gum is a great way to freshen your breath after eating, and as an added bonus, chewing also keeps your mouth busy so you wont be tempted to go back for seconds, or snack on your favourite nibble after your main meal all good news if youre trying to manage your weight and keep teeth healthy.
Mouth and teeth MOT
§ Choose your toothpaste wisely – Always make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride to help to strengthen and help protect the teeth
§ Use a new toothbrush – Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the tufts have become worn or splayed
§ Make a dentist appointment – If you do not visit your dentist regularly, make an appointment -the dentist can tell you how often you should have a check-up.
§ Chew sugarfree gum Chewing sugarfree gum such as Orbit Complete as recommended by the British Dental Health Foundation has been clinically proven to help prevent the build up of plaque on teeth and to help to keep your teeth healthy, clean and fresh after meals and snacks
§ Floss and use mouthwash – To clean the areas that your brush may not be able to reach, dental floss and special brushes clean in-between your teeth. Using mouthwash can also help to freshen breath and kill bacteria.
For further information British Dental Association www.bdasmile.org; British Dental Health Foundation www.dentalhealth.org.uk; British Dental Hygientists’ Associationwww.bdha.org.uk; Wrigleys Orbit Complete www.betteroralhealth.info; Wrigley www.wrigley.com/Wrigley