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Blog – Spring 2015 and healthy eating

March 20, 2015

The sun has started to make an appearance and at this time of year we start to think about healthy eating and all the benefits but be aware of certain mislabelled ‘healthy foods’

Healthy eating with regards to children is always a difficult discussion for a dentist and parent to have. As a dental professional we often see 2 different kinds of dental decay in children. The first are those who have a high sugar diet and frequently eat a lot of sweets and fizzy drinks. These children are under no guidance of which foods are bad and good for them and the level of consumption of these ‘treat’ foods is often high and not limited. Sadly the majority of these children will have to spend a considerable amount of time either in pain or in the dental chair through no fault of their own.
The second group are a more complex group. The parents of these children are often anxious as to the ‘healthy’ foods they give their children; these families have tried so hard to get it right. They often buy the organic dried fruits and smoothies for lunches and snacks. They even sometimes buy natural toothpastes so that their children are not exposed to unknown chemicals.

A healthy diet isn’t always a healthy diet for teeth. Dried fruits such as raisins are a typical example of a dentist nightmare. This is due to the drying process that concentrates the natural fruit sugars such as fructose which leave a sticky product around the teeth. This, in turn, leads to a longer attack on the teeth by sugar.
Fresh fruits still contain these natural fruit sugars but with the water still present they are a lot less damaging for teeth.

Smoothies seem the ideal healthy snack and children tend to enjoy this way of getting their 5 a day. The best way to consume smoothies is to ensure that they are kept to mealtimes only. The way in which the fruits are processed into smoothies accelerates the natural sugars and makes them more readily available to bacteria which in turn cause tooth decay.

The British Dental Association is running a campaign called ‘make a meal of it’ which, amongst other things, is out to encourage us to reduce our sugary snacks and drinks. I know this can’t always be helped and that having just 3 meals a day can be difficult with the hectic lives we all lead, but it’s something for us to aim for