Can what you eat have an effect on your smile? Nutritionist Jenna Hope explains!
As a nutritionist I focus a lot on food and our overall health, medical issues and weight management. One thing which isn’t spoken about as much is the impact that food has on our dental health.
We know sugar erodes our teeth and that coffee can contribute to staining, but do we really understand how else the food we eat impacts our oral health? I’ve laid out my 5 top nutrition tips to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining your oral health.
Individuals with nutrient deficiencies are at greater risk of mouth infection or disease. Tooth loss (often caused by peridontal disease) may be contributed to by poor diet.
The majority of the UK population are not getting their 5-a day; adults on average consume between 3-4 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. In order to reduce your risk of deficiencies, I recommend filling half of your plate with vegetables.
Calcium is equally as important for adults oral health as it is for children’s. Low calcium intake poses greater risk of oral disease and cancers. The recommendation for calcium intake is 700mg a day; 100g of Greek yoghurt provides you with around 110mg.
Calcium rich foods include: good quality dairy, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and oily fish.
While it’s often referred to as the summer nutrient because it’s synthesized from the sun and plays an essential role in calcium absorption, that doesn’t mean it’s time to go tanning!
Without vitamin D calcium absorption is limited; Vitamin D deficiency poses risk of tooth loss. This nutrient can be difficult to obtain from the diet and so I recommend considering supplementation in the winter and in the summer spend 20 minutes outside. Small amounts can be obtained from eggs, salmon and shitake mushrooms but not enough to reach the recommendations of 10ųg per day.
Coffee, green tea, red wine and fizzy drinks can contribute to teeth staining – whilst I’m not suggesting you never consume them it’s worth reconsidering your intake. Water is better for you anyway!
This isn’t ground breaking news but when sugar is in practically everything you consume it’s difficult to reduce it. I’m not just referring to added sugar. Natural sugars such as dates, honey, maple syrup, and agave syrups as well as milk products, fruit, processed cereals and sauces contain sugar. Consequently it is essential that you’re aware of the amount you’re consuming. As sugar contributes to tooth decay; I recommend focusing on whole foods rich in fibre and low in sugar. Opt for high quality proteins,whole grains, some fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to make up the majority of your diet and supplement with the sweeter options as the odd treat.
There are my top 5 nutrition tips to help keep your oral health in tact. Don’t tackle everything at once – just start with one tip, liking adding one portion of vegetables to every meal.
Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.
After obtaining a first class (hons) degree in exercise and nutrition Jenna went on to study a masters in
human nutrition and is registered with the Association For Nutrition (AfN). Jenna now works as a
nutritionist and a nutrition consultant to brands, magazines, cafes and restaurants. As an avid foodie
she is passionate about demonstrating that food should never be boring and should always be
enjoyable and nutritious.