Mark time for healthier teeth
02 April 2014
How often you eat has a big impact on how often you will need to go to the dentist for treatment.
“Ideally we should try to leave at least three hours between meals or
snacks to maintain healthy teeth,” said Professor Eeva Widström, chief
dental officer, Institute of Welfare and Health, Helsinki, at the
International Sweeteners Association conference in Brussels last week
Bacteria produce acid from carbohydrate food debris on the tooth
surface to cause dental caries, explained Prof Widström. Acid breaks
down the tooth’s protective hard surface, eroding its enamel and also
causing caries (holes) in the teeth.
“Saliva contains minerals such as calcium that can repair the damage,
but constant snacking throughout the day does not give the minerals in
the saliva time to repair damage.”
“Saliva produced during the night is not as good as that produced in
the day, so avoid food and snacks in the evening – make the latest 9pm,”
advised Prof Widström.
“If between-meal snacks are essential choose cheese which is rich in
minerals,” suggested Prof Widström. Good choices of between meal drinks
are water, milk and low calorie sweetened beverages.”
“Clean teeth twice a day using toothpaste with a high concentration
of fluoride,” said Prof Widström “and adults should also use interdental
Janette Marshall, Nutrition and Health Journalist