Nutrition & Hydration week – 14-20 March

14th March 2016

Do you ever stop to think what you are putting in your mouth? With our ever increasingly busy lives, food and drink can sometimes be considered a quick fix by many of us – grabbing the nearest can of fizzy drink or opting for sugar-laden fast food and ready-packed sandwiches. We all need to refuel, but we are what we eat and our mouths are very often the first part of our bodies to take the brunt of poor diets.

Acid erosion

Carbonated drinks, fruit juices and smoothies are all responsible for this kind of damage. Fizzy drinks contain a large amount of sugar and the acid in juices and smoothies can dissolve teeth. Diet or sugarfree options are almost as bad. It takes your mouth 20 minutes to neutralise this acid. You can read more about smoothies here

What can I do?
  • Reduce the number of drinks you have and, if possible, drink through a straw to avoid contact with teeth
  • Do not brush straight after a drink. If you need to, swill with water for 20 seconds first or use sugarfree gum afterwards
  • Try to limit drinks to mealtimes so the food can help neutralise the acid
  • Drink water.
Sports drinks

Sports or energy drinks have been shown to have serious side effects in adolescents and young adults. They contain very high amounts of caffeine and have been found to have serious adverse effects, especially in children and young adults with seizures, diabetes, cardiac abnormalities, or mood and behavioural disorders. Read the research. Safest drink after a workout is water!

Medicines that cause dry mouth

Dry mouth means you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. It is normal if you’re nervous or under stress. Saliva keeps the mouth wet, digests food, protects teeth from decay, prevents infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth, and makes it possible for you to swallow.

Lots of medicines can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, medicines for high blood pressure and depression. Smokers often experience dry mouth.

What can I do?
  • Speak to your doctor about changing medication
  • Use a mouthwash to protect the mouth and possibly a saliva substitute.
Eating disorders

Certain eating disorders may include frequent vomiting, but even nutritional deficiencies can affect the health of your mouth. Often, the first sign is sensitive teeth and bleeding gums. This then progresses to thin, sharp teeth that look grey and worn. It is important to get help early.

What can I do?
  • Never brush straight after acid reflux or vomiting. Rinse with water for 30 seconds first
  • It is important to have good daily oral hygiene using a fluoride toothpaste
  • See your dentist regularly.

Let’s use this week to review everything we put in our mouth. Is it rebuilding or destroying our bodies? See your dentist to get a head start.

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