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Does Your Diet Really Impact Your Dental Health?

Diet

  • The frequency and amount of sugars should be reduced. Consumption of sugary foods should be restricted to mealtimes.
  • Limit consumption of foods and drinks with added sugars to a maximum of four times a day.
  • Sugars (excluding those naturally present in whole fruit) should provide less than 10% of total energy in the diet or less than 60 g per person per day. Note that for young children this will be around 33 g per day.
  • sugar and chocolate confectionery
  • cakes and biscuits
  • buns, pastries, fruit pies
  • sponge puddings and other puddings
  • table sugar
  • sugared breakfast cereals
  • jams, preserves, honey
  • ice cream
  • fruit in syrup
  • fresh fruit juices
  • sugared soft drinks
  • sugared, milk-based beverages
  • sugar-containing alcoholic drinks
  • dried fruits
  • syrups and sweet sauces.
  • fruits that are juicy such as grapes, strawberries, pears e.t.c.

It is important to recognise that honey, fresh fruit juice and dried fruit all contain cariogenic sugars.

General good dietary practice guidelines

Key facts for eating well

Below are some of the main healthy eating messages aimed at helping people make healthier dietary choices.

The two most important elements of a healthy diet are:

  • eating the right amount of food relative to how active a person is;
  • eating a range of foods

A healthy balanced diet contains foods from all the major food groups including lots of fruit and vegetables; starchy staple foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals; some protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs and lentils; and some dairy foods, preferably of the lower fat variety

Key message 1 – Base meals on starchy foods

Starchy foods such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes are an important part of a healthy diet. Wholegrain varieties of starchy food are best as they contain more nutrients and help us to feel fuller for longer. Starchy foods should make up about a third of the food we eat. They are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients and fibre in our diet.

Key message 2 – Eat lots of fruit and vegetables

At least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables should be eaten every day; different fruit and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, vitamins and other nutrients. Eating more fruit and vegetables could help to reduce the risk of the two main killers in this country – heart disease and cancer. Most people know they should be doing this but still don’t. Eating five can be easy. One portion of fruit and vegetables is 80 g, which roughly equals a handful.

Key message 3 – Eat more fish

Two portions of fish, including a portion of oily fish, e.g. salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna, should be eaten each week. The choice can be from fresh, frozen or canned – but canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Fish is an excellent source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals

Key message 4 – Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

To stay healthy we need some fat in our diets. There are two main types of fat:

  • Saturated fat – having too much can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the chance of developing heart disease. Foods containing this include: fatty meat, pâté, meat pies, sausages, hard cheese, butter, lard, full fat milk, and biscuits, cakes and pastry.
  • Unsaturated fat – having unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat lowers blood cholesterol. Good sources include: vegetable oils (such as sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil), oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Reducing the amount and frequency of sugary food intake can reduce dental caries and could help control weight. Never eat anything containing sugars within one hour of bedtime

Key message 5 – Eat less salt – no more than 6 g a day

Three-quarters (75%) of the salt we eat comes from processed food, such as some breakfast cereals, soups, sauces, bread, biscuits and ready meals. Eating too much salt can raise blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than people with normal blood pressure.

Key message 6 – Drink plenty of water

We should be drinking about six to eight glasses (1.2 litres) of water, or other fluids, every day to stop us getting dehydrated.

Call in to our Warrington Dental practice today so we can help you with your Oral Health.

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