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Tooth Decay & Nutrition

For good dental health, you must look after your teeth and gums. Dental diseases such as tooth decay and dental erosion are very common but the good news is that they are largely preventable.

The most important factors in helping fight tooth decay are brushing and flossing twice daily as well as the addition of fluoride to your water supply.

However, dentists say that there is much more to good dental care than that. Good nutrition and eating habits also play a key role in preventing tooth decay and dental erosion.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is the damage that occurs when bacteria in your mouth create acids that eat away at the enamel of your tooth. It can lead to cavities as well as:

  • Tooth pain
  • Infection
  • Tooth loss

Factors that make you more likely to experience tooth decay include:

  • Poor dental care including not brushing & flossing regularly and not visiting your dentist for teeth cleanings and checkups.
  • Eating foods that are high in sugar and other carbohydrates
  • Not getting enough fluoride
  • Smoking
  • Having diabetes

Seniors & Tooth Decay

Dental care for the elderly is particularly important given that their oral health has a significant bearing on the quality of their life.

Poor oral care, the inability to access dentist services and a tendency to eat sweeter foods puts senior patients at a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which can also worsen chronic illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes

Free Dental Care For Elderly in Calgary

Alberta offers a variety of dental assistance programs to help seniors obtain free dental care for the services they require to maintain good oral health.

To be eligible for these programs, you must:

  • Be 65+ years
  • Have lived in Alberta for at least 3 months before applying
  • Be a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident

Our Calgary dentists offer a variety of dental care services for the elderly including teeth cleanings, dentures and dental implants to help ensure the longevity of your dental health and overall wellbeing.

4 Foods To Eat To Prevent Tooth Decay

Prevention is the best form of dental care for your mouth. Although regular visits to your dentist can make your teeth stronger and brighter, it’s better to avoid cavities and stains in the first place by brushing, flossing and of course, eating right.

Here are 4 foods you should incorporate into your diet to protect your teeth and gums from tooth decay, gum disease and other oral diseases.

  1. Milk

It’s not just your bones that benefit from milk: your dental care does too. Milk contains calcium which helps your teeth become stronger and healthier.

Milk and milk products such as cheese and yoghurt are beneficial to oral health as they help protect your teeth against periodontal (gum) disease and keep your jaw bone strong.

Dentist’s Tip: Drinking low-fat or skim milk will help you gain the most nutrients without the extra fat of 2% or whole milk.

  1. Water

Saliva is your mouth’s best defense against tooth decay because it contains minerals that counteract enamel-eating acids. Since it is made up of 95% water, staying hydrated helps you fend of plaque and periodontal disease.

In addition, dentists recommend drinking lots of water as it washes away food debris and displaces sugary drinks, which can damage tooth enamel and promote decay.

Dentist’s Tip: Protect your teeth and gums from tooth decay by rinsing your mouth with water after eating and sip water throughout the day.

  1. Omega 3 Oils

Omega-3 fish oils DHA and EPA can reduce the risk of periodontitis - advanced gum disease that damages not only the gums but the bones that support your teeth.

Besides being rich in heart-healthy fats, cold water fish such as wild salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna are valuable sources of Vitamin D, which can cut your risk of tooth decay up to 50%.

Dentist’s Tip: Aim for 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

  1. Fibre-Rich Fruits & Vegetables

There are certain foods that can help scrape plaque and other debris from your teeth. This includes hard, fibre-rich fruits and vegetables which will help clean your teeth and promote saliva.

This will neutralize tooth-damaging acids as saliva contains calcium and phosphates that help rebuild enamel for a healthier, whiter smile.

Dentist’s Tip: Munch on carrots, celery, apples, pears or any other raw produce that is crunchy and high in water. Just be sure to eat them plain - not covered in sugary dips or spreads.

Learn More

To learn more about our dental care services, contact our Calgary dentists at 403-248-2066.

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