Eat and drink your way to successful dental workMarch 10, 2020 6:26 am
It’s an unlucky fact that, at some point, most of us will have a problem with our teeth that has to be treated by the dentist. Whether it’s orthodontic, corrective or cosmetic, your teeth come into contact with everything you eat – so it’s important to carefully consider food and drink. The right choices can make sure a temporary inconvenience doesn’t get even worse!
This is one of the common dental problems to affect diet. If you have braces or an orthodontic device then there’s a range of foods to ignore, for very practical reasons – they may get stuck! As well as being super-annoying to clean off, food detritus hanging around your mouth could also spell trouble for dental health. That’s because food can be converted to sugar, helping encourage bacteria growth and, eventually, tooth decay. So, avoid sticky and chewy foods like sweets, popcorn and chewing gum. Hard or crunchy food can also build pressure on braces and damage them. For this reason, don’t eat nuts or bite into chunky hard vegetables like carrots and apples. You don’t need to neglect your diet though – instead, chop up fruits and vegetables into small pieces that are easier to eat.
Dental surgery, very often to remove a tooth and fit an implant, means you need to be careful with food and drink. Depending on the procedure, you likely need to eat soft foods for at least a few days in order to avoid damage to stitches and the area that has been operated on. Soups, smoothies and yoghurt are all great choices. Your dentist might want to talk about long-term diet changes in order to avoid future dental problems – that means keeping sugar consumption down, and lots of fresh vegetables, legumes and whole grains instead. These will give you the vitamins and minerals you need to help fight off tooth decay for good!
- Gum disease
If your dentist has diagnosed gum disease, then you’ll definitely need to look at your diet. Gum disease starts with irritated gums, caused by a build-up of plaque and plaque-producing bacteria in the mouth and on the teeth. As these bacteria multiply, the gum disease becomes worse, and if it’s left untreated it can lead to serious damage and even tooth loss. One of the best ways to avoid this happening is to stop feeding the pesky bacteria – this means eating healthy food. Sugar feeds bacteria, so as well as the obvious culprits like cakes, candy and chocolate, it’s also a good idea to avoid highly processed foods such as white bread and pasta. These refined carbohydrates are broken down into sugar incredibly quickly in the mouth, before you have a chance to chew and swallow. Saltine crackers are actually one of the worst things you can eat, for this very reason! Brown pasta and wholemeal bread are much better options.
To start: if you have an unexplained toothache, then you should see a dentist as soon as possible. A toothache is an emergency that a professional dentist needs to deal with. However, if you have to wait for an appointment and need to eat, it’s best to stick to soft foods that won’t irritate the mouth. Fruits like bananas and peaches are easy to chew and swallow. Don’t have hot or cold drinks, or spicy food, as these can all worsen a toothache. Drs. Nicolas & Asp offers emergency dental appointments 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – so it’s not necessary to wait long to see a dentist if this happens to you.
- Tooth whitening and tooth erosion
If you have had your teeth bleached, then you may have heightened sensitivity for a little while afterwards. It’s best to avoid very hot or cold drinks – staying away from tea and coffee will also help keep that shiny white smile! Tooth erosion, for example if you are a tooth grinder, can also lead to tooth sensitivity. This is because the enamel is worn down, thinning the layer of protection around the inner pulp and nerve. Again, it’s best to avoid hot and cold. It may be that bad food choices have caused your enamel erosion in the first place – sugary foods produce acid in the mouth, eroding teeth over time. Sodas can worsen this problem, because they actually contain tooth-damaging acids themselves. This is even true of diet or sugar-free drinks. It’s also a good idea to avoid citrus fruits for their high acidity content. If you have any kind of unexplained or sudden tooth pain, then it’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible.
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