Diet, Nutrition and your Oral HealthHow eating and drinking habits affect our teeth Eating affects your oral healthThe reality is our eating habits play a major role in tooth decay, which isa diet related disease. Sugars in the food and drinks we eat are taken upby bacteria, producing acids that attack the outer layer of tooth enamelto cause decay.Our saliva helps our teeth recover from these attacks through a processneutralising the acids. However, if we frequently snack between meals,there is no rest period for teeth to undergo this recovery process, whichmeans that, over time, a cavity forms as a result of these sustained acidattacks. Water, water everywhereDrink it up! It\u2019s calorie free, there are no ingredient labels to stress over,and it\u2019s almost free! Even better, tap water in most areas of Australiacontains fluoride, one of the easiest and most beneficial ways to helpprevent tooth decay. Making water your beverage of choice andregularly sipping it throughout the day, including with and right aftermeals, makes a real difference to the health of your teeth. Watch what you eatIt is not just the obvious sweet foods and drinks such as lollies and softdrinks that can cause decay. Frequent snacking on foods with hiddensugars like biscuits, crackers, cereals, chips and even dried fruit (these alsobreak down into sugars in the mouth) can cause acid attacks on your toothenamel.Here are two teeth friendly habits you can adopt to reduce your risk oftooth decay.\u2022 Have three regular meal times a day, rather than snacking and grazing.\u2022 Limit your sugary treats to be part of a meal, rather than as a snack. Limit snacking between mealsA key component in helping to prevent decay is saliva which helps your teeth recover from these attacks by neutralising the acids. Its good work, however, can be undone if you snack frequently between meals, which means your teeth don’t get a break from the acid attacks that occur when you eat. \u00a0Also, limit sugary treats to meal times, rather than between meals. Gum anyone?Chewing sugar-free gum (and that\u2019s the crucial qualifier, it must besugar-free!) may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you\u2019rethinking about good dietary habits to benefit your teeth. Studies haveshown that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating canprompt your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps neutralisedecay-causing acid attacks. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY TEETH:1. Limit sugary treats to meal times, rather than between meals.2. Drink fluoridated tap water throughout the day and after meals.3. Chew sugar-free gum after eating. Before you make any dietary changes, particularly if you haveany ongoing medical conditions, it\u2019s best to first check with ahealth professional.