Dental health impacts food enjoyment

We all know that to have good dental health, we need to look after our teeth. Yet, preventable dental diseases such as tooth decay and dental erosion are very common health problems in Australia. Regular tooth brushing and flossing (at least twice a day), as well as regular visits to the dentist are only just the start. Good nutrition and eating habits also play a key role in preventing tooth decay and dental erosion. 

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is essential to food enjoyment; it helps us enjoy the process, the tastes and the smells associated with eating, and this helps us to eat well. Missing teeth, sore gums and dentures that don’t fit properly can all make it difficult to chew food, which might alter what is eaten and how much is eaten.

Eating and drinking habits also play an important role in both the development and the prevention of tooth decay. For example, carbohydrate-containing foods such as rice, potatoes, bread and fresh fruit are unlikely to cause tooth decay and dairy foods, particularly cheese, actually help prevent tooth decay. While, excessive consumption of sugary food and drinks contribute to tooth decay. We know that solid foods are cleared from the mouth more slowly than liquid, giving the plaque more time to produce acid. Sticky foods are particularly bad for our teeth and gum health as they tend to stay in close contact with teeth much longer.

Having teeth checked regularly and ensuring dentures are adjusted correctly will ensure the continued enjoyment of a variety of foods and drinks without restriction. If difficulties arise or there is a noticeable change in eating behaviour, this should prompt a visit to the dentist.

For more information about how Nutrition Australia (Vic) can assist your aged care facility contact 03 8341 5800 or email vic@nutritionaustralia.org or visit our aged care webpage.

Factsheet:

Dental Health