Oral health - good mouth health
Oral health is important whether you have your own teeth, full dentures, part dentures or just gums!
Poor oral health can mean toothache, loss of teeth, mouth ulcers and gum disease. All can make eating difficult, spoil food enjoyment or put you oﬀ eating all together.
Poor oral health could lead to poor nutrition and poor health.
Causes of tooth decay and gum disease include:
- Dry Mouth: Causes include medication and reduced saliva production (reduction of
saliva happens as we age) Dry mouth is uncomfortable. It can impair taste, swallowing and speech. Saliva helps to prevent tooth decay. Talk to your doctor and/or dentist about what to do. Your medication may be able to be changed and products are available to help relieve dry mouth.
- Food textures: Firm, crisp foods help to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease
by stimulating saliva ﬂow and exercising jaws, tongue and teeth. Try to have a variety of textures. Avoid always eating soft food if you can.
- Poor cleaning of teeth: teeth should be brushed at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush and ﬂuoride toothpaste. Dentures should be cleaned once a day using a soft brush, do not use abrasive powders or cleaners. Check with dentist to make sure dentures are fitting correctly. Clean gums under dentures daily using a super soft toothbrush or washcloth.
What are ‘tooth friendly’ foods?
Tooth friendly foods include milk, cheese, yoghurt and custard. Milk and milk products contain casein and this helps prevent tooth decay. Try to finish mealtimes with a milk drink or a milky dessert. A piece of cheese would also be good.
What about fruit juice?
Fruit juice contains acid. Acid is not so good for teeth. One glass of juice a day should be enough and try to have it with a meal. If you have teeth problems, try drinking juice through a straw.
Water is great for quenching thirst and for rinsing out your mouth after eating (if you are not brushing). Water does not contain anything to harm teeth. Fluoride in tap water is good for teeth.
Picking at food all through the day: is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay as it doesn’t give tooth enamel time to ‘recover’ after eating. Try to leave about 2 hours between meals and mid meals.
Dental ‘check ups’ are so important. Try to have regular ‘check ups’ to identify issues before they become a problem.
Teeth, mouth and swallowing problems have a high impact on ability to eat and enjoy food.