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Diet & Dentistry

Diet & Dentistry

Your general health and resistance to many diseases is reliant on a healthy, balanced diet. Eating and drinking habits can also affect the health of your teeth.

Plaque is a soft, sticky deposit that forms on the surface of your teeth. It is made up of bacteria, which mostly feed on sugar from the food and drink you consume, and the plaque acids attack the enamel of the tooth causing tooth decay. Every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under attack for up to an hour.

The sugars that cause most decay are those added to food and drink during manufacture, processing or preparation – not those naturally present in foods such as milk, fruit and vegetables.

Acidic drinks erode the enamel surface of the teeth, exposing the dentine underneath and making them susceptible . Fizzy drinks (including fizzy mineral water), fruit juices and fruit squashes, pickles and even citrus fruits themselves are all acidic to varying degrees. Consume them in moderation. Do not clean your teeth immediately after such food as it can contribute to brushing away the enamel.

It is the frequency with which you consume sugary snacks and drinks that matters most. If you can restrict them for eating with a meal – in one go – that is significantly better for your teeth than snacking on unhealthy food and drinks throughout the day, between mealtimes. Saliva production is high at mealtimes and it can help neutralise plaque acids.

You Can Help – Your Responsibilities

  • Remove plaque by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on sugary and/or acidic food and drink. Limit such food to mealtimes – when the production of saliva can help counter the effect of acids in the mouth.
  • Limit snacking between meals. ‘Safe’ snacks include vegetables, fruits, sandwiches, pitta bread etc. Dairy products such as cheese and unsweetened yoghurts are also ‘safe‘ for teeth but, for your overall health, you should not have too much of them.
  • Milk and water are good choices for drinks (including tea and coffee if you do not add sugar to them). Between meals, consume only ‘safe’ drinks.
  • Establish and maintain a balanced diet – one that includes at least five portions of vegetables and fruit a day.
  • Check food labels – look for ‘hidden’ sugars, particularly in prepared meals. Generally, the higher up the list it appears in the list of ingredients, the more sugar there is in the product.
  • When reading labels ‘no added sugar’ means only that no extra sugar has been added – not necessarily the same as ‘sugar free’.
  • Sugar is included in some medicines, particularly those produced for children. Use sugar-free alternatives, if possible.
  • No problems with sugar free chewing gum.
  • Older patients often have exposed root surfaces these are very susceptible to decay.


  • Prevention This is one of the most important treatments we provide.
  • Contact Us If you need advice on any matters please call us on 01932-220111 and our friendly staff will be pleased to help