Did you know the average teen eats nine times a day? Choose wisely!
Even though your schedule is hectic and you eat on the run, you can select fresh fruits and vegetables instead of junk foods. Cheese, air-popped popcorn and yogurt are healthy alternatives to high-fat or high-sugar snacks. For the sake of your dental and overall health, do not let snacks take the place of nutritionally balanced meals.
Dental diseases such as tooth decay and dental erosion are very common health problems in Australia particularly amongst teenagers, but they are largely preventable! Tooth decay occurs when a hole (cavity) forms in your tooth. It is caused by plaque — a sticky layer of germs — in your mouth. The bacteria that makeup plaque is capable of turning sugar from food/drinks into acid, it is this acid that in turn causes cavities. Although some food and drinks are already so acidic they can cause direct damage to our tooth’s enamel, this is commonly known as dental erosion.
Our eating and drinking habits play an important role in the development and prevention of tooth decay. With foods containing high sugars, it’s how much but also how often, that affects the process of dental decay and dental erosion. Consuming sweet food and drinks between meals is a significant problem; this is because there is no between-meal period for teeth to undergo recovery (remineralise). The more often sweet foods and drinks are consumed, the higher the risk of tooth decay. For healthy teeth, food and drinks should be free of added sugar whenever possible.
Limit how often you have sweet foods and consume them during meal times rather than between meals.
Limit sweet drinks, including fruit juices (even if diluted, fruit juice contains natural sugars which can lead to tooth decay).
Choose healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, natural yoghurt, plain popcorn, soups or cheese
Choose fresh fruits over dried fruit, as dried fruit will leave a sticky residue on your teeth and can contribute to tooth decay.
Drink fluoridated tap water and plain milk instead of soft drinks, juice or cordial
In addition to eating healthy foods and limiting sweet foods, brushing and flossing your teeth should be a regular habit. Visiting the dentist every six months can help keep you on track of your dental health and allow the dentist to give you feedback on your oral hygiene and recommendations on how to improve.