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by : Dr. Devika Duggal

Nutrition & Oral Health

Nutrition is an essential part of every individual’s life. Nutrition in the form of a balanced diet is recommended for everyone. Good oral health is important for overall quality of life. Oral health refers to the health of teeth, gums, tongue, lips and associated structures in the mouth. Oral heath is an integral part of general health. It is achieved when the teeth and oral environment are not only healthy but also comfortable and functional and free from sources of infection which may affect general health. Oral health also affects one’s social acceptability in the society.

Food and nutrition policy guidelines recommend that frequent consumption of sugar containing food and drinks should be avoided, especially by children who recommends that the intake of free sugars (This team does not include sugars naturally present in whole fruits, vegetables and milk) should be less than 10% of total energy intake and the frequency of intake be limited to four times or less a day. It is also said that snacking in between the meals should be avoided. According to the food pyramid food rich in fats and sugar should be best avoided and limited to no more that i serving a day maximum and ideally not every day. Poor nutrition and improper diet is a shored common risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, obesity & oral diseases.

Food essential in the diet:

Fibre - rich fruits and vegetables

These stimulate salivary flow which acts as a natural defence against caries saliva not only washes away the tooth surface but it also neutralizes the acids attacking the teeth. Crisp fruits and vegetables are beneficial like apple, carrot and celery Nuts such as almonds, walnuts etc also increase salivary flow.

Cheese, milk, plain yoghurt and dairy products

These dairy products contain good amount of calcium, phosphates and vitamin D. That is required for the health of the teeth. Teeth are mainly composed of calcium and phosphates and without their enough quantity in the diet there might be a risk of dental decay.

Sugarless chewing gum

Chewing sugar free gum after meals can help rinse harmful acids off the teeth. Chewing gums containing xylitol have decay preventive qualities.

Green and Black tea

Tea contains compounds that can suppress bacteria thereby reducing chances of decay.


Fluoridated drinking water helps in protecting teeth from decay.

Food that should be avoided:

Sugary candies and sweets that stick in the mouth like felly beans, hard candies, caramels, lollipops etc cookies, cakes and other deserts should be taken in limited quantity.

Starchy refined carbohydrates such as chips, bread, past etc can be harmful as they stick to tooth surface for a longer time. Starches made from white flour are simple carbohydrates that breakdown into simple sugars causing acid production and dental decay.

Beverages with added sugar should be avoided. Alternatives such as water, coconut water, Green tea & coffee should be added to diet.

Fruit juice contain good amount of sugar unlike fruits that have high concentration of fibres.

Lemons, citrus fruits and other acidic foods cause erosion of tooth surface if consumed for a long period of time.

Alcohol and other medicines that dry the mouth should be accompanied with a mouth rinse.

Dental Peace