Laurann O’Reilly: Eight Tips For Keeping Your Teeth Healthy – Everything You Need To Know!


We use them every day and we need them for life. Many of us underestimate the importance of our teeth for drinking, chewing, and even speech development.

With advancements in health, our life expectancy increases, we also need our teeth to stand the test of time.

Here, nutritionist Laurann O’Reilly and owner of Nutrition by Laurann, shares some of her top tips for maintaining not only your teeth, but also your overall oral health through nutrition and lifestyle strategies.

1) Avoid foods high in sugar: We know that consuming too much sugar is not good for our health because it can lead to weight gain, it increases our risk of type 2 diabetes as well as other diseases.

However, as the Dental Health Foundation Ireland (DHF) explains, “There are many foods that provide important nutrients that also contain sugar, which can be consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet.

From an oral health perspective, DHF recommends that “whole fruits, vegetables and milk containing natural sugars are preferable to foods containing” free sugars. “

They describe “free sugars” as “all sugars added to foods (such as candies, chocolate and cookies) and sugars naturally present in honey, fruit juices and syrups”.

This is because foods containing “free sugars” can cause tooth decay and should only be eaten as part of a meal and not as a snack between meals.

– Identify sugars: I have often discussed the sugar content of foods, unfortunately the sugars in foods are not always obvious and are otherwise known as “hidden sugars” in what sometimes appears as healthy foods .

Tip 1. Beware of other names for sugar: which include sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, fructose, maltose, dextrose, and fruit sugars.

Tip 2. Read your labels: To calculate the number of teaspoons of sugar in a product, divide the number of “which sugars” by 5, you might be surprised!

2) Choose your drinks wisely: In addition to solid foods high in sugar, sugar can also be hiding in our drinks.

– Soft drinks: DHF explains how “frequent consumption of sweetened soft drinks and their acid content increases the risk of tooth decay and can cause erosion of tooth enamel”. On top of that, cola drinks contain an ingredient called “phosphoric acid,” which Stone Creek Dental Care (SCDC) says is “very corrosive to the teeth.”

– Juices and soft drinks: it is not only drinks high in sugar that are the problem, as fruit juices can also be quite high in natural fruit sugars (fructose) and soft drinks, including carbonated water, can also lead to erosion of the enamel.

– Coffee: SCDC also suggests being careful with coffee because “the tannic acids present in coffee decrease the production of saliva and contribute to a dry mouth”.

As a result, “a dry mouth causes bad breath and a lack of saliva (saliva eliminates bacteria that cause cavities), which contributes to the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth”

– Alcohol: Another element to take into account to maintain your oral health is excessive alcohol consumption. The SCDC explains how “all alcoholic drinks dry out the mouth”. For example, red wine “also contains tannic acid” like coffee and white wine is not better because it “is more acidic than red wine”.

Tip: Milk and water are the most tooth-friendly drinks and are suitable for drinking during and between meals.

3) Healthy Nutrients For Teeth To Include In Your Diet: As the saying goes “you are what you eat” and the same goes for our teeth.

For the construction, repair and maintenance of your teeth, it is important to include the following items.

– Calcium: plays an important role in strengthening the hard outer shell of your tooth called enamel and helps your teeth fight erosion and cavities. It is also important for healthy bones, including the jawbone that holds your teeth in place. Sources of calcium:

1) Animal sources such as low fat milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon, sardines and

2) Vegetable sources such as fortified vegetable milks, tofu (based on calcium sulfate), broccoli, green leafy vegetables (cabbage / spinach / kale), nuts (almonds / brazil / hazelnuts), seeds (sesame / chia) and dried fruits (grapes / prunes / figs / apricots).

– Magnesium: Magnesium and calcium work together and complement each other to build the enamel of your hard teeth.
Sources of Magnesium: Include dark green vegetables, legumes, nuts, corn, brown rice, buckwheat, rye, and other whole grains.

– Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining the health of our teeth because it facilitates the absorption of calcium. Sources of Vitamin D: 1) Exposure to the sun through our skin, especially ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which is why it is also known as the “sunshine vitamin”.

The advice of the World Health Organization is to get 5 to 15 minutes of occasional sun exposure for the hands, face and arms two to three times a week during the summer months. 2) By foods such as oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, canned salmon, herring and herring and a small amount in sources such as red meat, liver and eggs.

Fortified milk like super milk and cereals are also great sources.

The recently published Oireachtas report recommends that all Irish people take a vitamin D supplement all year round, in addition to food sources in order to adequately meet needs.

– Vitamin C: Being a powerful antioxidant, it helps promote healthy gums. Sources of Vitamin C: Include citrus fruits (oranges / grapefruit / lemon / lime), blueberries, strawberries, black currants, peppers, broccoli, spinach and potatoes.

– Phosphorus: An important mineral that helps the body absorb and use calcium and strengthens teeth by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel. Sources of phosphorus: Includes eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy products, nuts and beans

4) Schedule time between your meals: It’s not just what foods you eat or avoid, but when and how you eat them that are important. As DHF suggests, “It is not the amount of sugar in food or drink that damages your teeth, but the frequency of your sugar intake because you increase the amount of daily acid attacks on your teeth.”

Foods containing “free sugars”, as noted above, can cause tooth decay and should only be eaten “as part of a meal and not as a snack between meals”.

They also don’t recommend sipping carbonated drinks throughout the day because “sugar and sage combine to create an acid.”

Remember that each “acid attack” lasts about 20 minutes, and each time teeth are exposed, the acid damage begins again.

Tip: Give your teeth a break from high-sugar foods between meals rather than constantly grazing them to allow your teeth to recover naturally.

5) Snacks suitable for teeth: Many of us need our snacks between our meals to be constantly on the move and to meet our nutritional needs.

Here are some tooth-friendly snack suggestions for you and your family: whole fruit, chopped vegetables, sandwiches, whole grain bread, crackers, low fat yogurt, low fat cheese (which provides calcium for healthy bones and teeth. ) and plain popcorn.

6) How to avoid stains on the teeth: While the structure of our teeth is extremely important, the appearance of our teeth can also be a concern for some, with most of us striving for a brilliant pearly white. Here are some tips to avoid stains:

– Cut down on tea / coffee: as they contain tannins, a type of chemical compound that can cause colored compounds to stick to your teeth.

– Reduce wine: As mentioned above, red wine also contains tannins which can stain your teeth, while the acidity of wine can weaken the pores of your teeth and make them more prone to stains.

– Avoid cola: Due to the acidic nature of cola, containing phosphoric acid (discussed above) and regular cola also being high in sugar, it can cause erosion of your enamel which exposes the dentin of the skin. tooth (a layer under the enamel which is rather yellow in color). It can also make your teeth more vulnerable to stains.

7) Avoid smoking: While smoking can also cause stains on teeth due to nicotine and tar from tobacco, DHF explains how smoking can also lead to increased plaque buildup, bad breath, and gum disease. This is “due to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums do not heal properly” (

8) Clean your teeth: To maintain that healthy smile, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (Irish Dental Association).

With so many different toothpastes on the market for both adults and children, it is important to choose the right one, the recommendation of the National Childhood Network (NCN) is toothpaste with a minimum of 1000 ppm (from the age two years, unless otherwise advised) by your dentist).

Also, don’t forget to floss every day to clean the hard-to-reach places between your teeth.

For more information on dental health, the Dental Health Foundation has great resources at or contact your local dentist.

For more information contact Laurann at [email protected] or visit
Laurann O’Reilly is a qualified and experienced nutritionist with a BSc. Diploma in Human Nutrition from the University of Nottingham and Masters in Public Health Nutrition from University College Dublin.


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