For dental care: How to protect your teeth | govt.chinadaily.com.cn

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For dental care: How to protect your teeth

Updated: Sep 4, 2020 en.nhc.gov.cn Print
A medical staff member shows students the correct way to brush teeth. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

I. Balanced diet and varied ingredients

Oral diseases and many chronic diseases have common risk factors. For example, excessive intake of high-sugar, high-fat, high-salt, and low-fiber foods is not only closely related to coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and obesity, but also to oral diseases such as dental caries and periodontal disease. A healthy diet can prevent both systemic disease and oral disease.

Diversified food is the basic principle of a balanced diet. It is recommended to consume at least 12 kinds of food a day and 25 kinds of food a week on average, and to eat more whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber can help prevent chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and are also good for tooth development and prevention of dental caries, periodontal disease, dental erosion and oral cancer.

II. Identify sugar scientifically and stay away from added sugar

1. Non-free sugar is less harmful.

Sugar is divided into non-free sugar and free sugar.

Non-free sugar refers to the fructose that naturally exists in fresh fruits, vegetables, the lactose in milk and the starch in cereals and potatoes.

Free sugar is more harmful to the health. It is often divided into two categories. One is the sugar that exists in pure fruit juice, concentrated fruit juice and honey. Although it often gives people the impression of "natural" and "healthy", it is also free sugar.

Since the sugar in whole and fresh fruit is wrapped by a layer of plant cell wall, which slows the digestion process, fresh and intact fruit does not easily cause caries. But when the fruit is made into juice, non-free sugar becomes free sugar, which increases cariogenicity.

The other kind of free sugar refers to sucrose, glucose, fructose and syrup added to food during food production, preparation and processing. It is also called added sugar.

2. Added sugar may be hard to spot

Added sugar not only exists in sweet snacks such as beverages, candies, cakes, biscuits, desserts, honey, syrup, and candied fruit, but may also be hidden in "unsweetened" processed foods, such as ketchup, yogurt, coffee, puffed food, sesame-seed paste, walnut powder, plum candy and so on. It is worth noting that many commercially available baby foods are highly processed products with high added sugar content, so it is necessary to beware of accidently ingesting it.

Added sugar is pure energy food, also known as "empty calorie" food. Excessive intake can reduce the intake and absorption of other low-calorie nutritious foods, disrupt dietary balance and lead to excess energy, weight gain, obesity and increased risk of diabetes.

III. Drink fewer carbonated beverages to avoid tooth damage

The critical pH value for enamel demineralization is 5.5. Carbonated beverages and citrus acidic foods have low pH and high sugar content, which can reduce the oral pH to below the critical pH for enamel demineralization, causing direct corrosion and damage to the surface of the teeth, thereby triggering acid erosion.

In addition, these foods can also produce acidic substances through microbial fermented sugar, which may lead to the dissolution of minerals in tooth enamel and cause caries.

Habits such as excessive intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks or having drinks before going to bed can significantly increase the risk of acid erosion in children and adolescents. It is recommended to reduce the intake of carbonated beverages to avoid harm to the teeth, and choose water instead of sugared beverages in daily life.

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